I am excited to say that my book is coming along a lot better than I could have ever dreamed and my plan for publishing in time for the holidays is within my grasp.
For anyone out there with writer's block or simply feeling discouraged, here are some things that have helped me:
1). Don't stop writing. In the beginning I opened multiple Word windows and had different stories on different pages. I have since combined the majority of those into the main body of the book. It helps to put all of your thoughts on paper...you may use them later.
2). Get someone to read your stuff. Not the entire story and not so that they can edit it for you. Have someone read some of it so that you know that your ideas are being conveyed properly. I had my mother and aunt read a portion of my book without telling them that it was an Urban Fantasy. Both of them read Koontz, Patterson, Childs, Higgins-Clark, etc. After reading the 2,800 word excerpt they were calling me and asking for more.
b). Get someone who is not related to you to read it for clarity. Family members tend to love what you do, just look at how many parents allow their kids to go on American Idol when they know full well that they can't sing!
3). Copyright your story. This should have been #2 but I am writing these in the order that I have done them. There are some simple ways to Copyright your story. An old trick is to send it to yourself in certified mail and never open it. Another way is to file the paperwork with the Copyright offices. http://www.copyright.gov/eco/. There is also a new way to do it online. My Free Copyright (dot) com will copyright all of your blog or website's content every time you post or update. http://www.myfreecopyright.com/
4). When you feel a block coming on, go online to look at blogs. Be very careful that you don't start reading stories that are closely related to yours so that you don't inadvertently start to write that story. See what other authors are doing for promotions...and what reviewers are saying about the books they've read. Look for cover ideas. A book IS judges by it's cover, regardless of what people say.
5). Write the story that you want to read next. If you find it entertaining, odds are that others will as well.