Struggles. No one can ever get away from the all too familiar aspect of life. One subsides, another resurfaces. Maybe verily with hardship comes ease. That’s just it, isn’t it? The woes of being a writer – ever eternal, ever lurking. How often have you sat in front of a computer, notebook, or typewriter? Without a sense of what to put in a daunting piece of paper? And how can even a piece of an already dead tree cast such an unnerving effect to the point that you’ll convince yourself to put the writing off and go your merry way doing anything but it? That. That is the question that every writer has no definitive answer to. Also (and sadly), that is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the other common struggles that every writer can relate to:
Experiencing Writer’s Block
…Uhm, now what? It is one of the many questions you have asked yourself once or twice (or a million times depending on the day, really).
How does one even begin to explain what writer’s block truly is? It is this experience comparable to hitting a wall. Not physically, though, but it might as well be because how does one move on from one side to another – from null to overflowing with ideas? It’s complicated and headache-inducing.
Moreover, the storytelling comes to a halt, and the intellect is ill-equipped to deal with the problem at hand. The process is associated and connected to the intellectual being, after all. All creatives out there can relate to this.
Also, writer’s block is linked to that overwhelming feeling that envelops every writer. What with the thought of needing to do everything to support their careers? Dealing with that stress and all the other responsibilities in life make balancing them incredibly taxing.
But fear not, because here are some pointers that may help:
- Don’t pressure yourself to finish what you are writing today. Take the long view. Breathe. You are more than allowed to focus on adding bits and pieces every day. Remember that you took on writing because you enjoy it. Driving yourself mad into finishing everything right this instant would only make you hate it (and, well, mad).
- Set a few priorities each day – three to four would do. Deal with them as early as possible, preferably in the morning. Getting these out of the way can make you feel a sense of productivity and allow you to not overthink for the rest of the day.
- Limit the decisions you have to make. The fewer, the better because this helps avoid decision fatigue while also strengthening your willpower in your writing tasks.
Grappling with Staying on Task
Distractions are everywhere. No matter where you look, they are there. Sometimes, even when your eyes are closed, they are still present. Shutting off the mind, whether brimming with thoughts or not, can be very challenging.
Furthermore, productivity and time management are two things that anyone struggles with – writer or not. And the unfortunate part is that distractions easily influence these two. More so when deadlines are not in the picture to keep you on track. An appealing thought, though (sort of), is that you are not alone.
A few helpful tips about the second struggle includes:
- Not letting feelings of guilt of not doing enough and stress about doing nothing rob you of what is now. Not only do these prevent you from being present, but it also impairs your mental health.
- Writing it down when you find your mind constantly racing with worries. Once they are on paper, set them aside and marinate them.
- Avoiding wishful thinking about how you can focus with distractions surrounding you. Start by turning off the phone you are currently holding or even as far as turning off the internet connection. Doing these will redirect your focus on your writing and not the outside world.
- Turning your writing into more of a challenge to prevent it from becoming another chore on your to-do list. You can try to set a specific amount of time to just splurge on words and then follow it up with some form of reward.
Undergoing Moments of Self Doubt
Writing can be very personal, and letting the whole world see it induces self-doubts. You may haphazardly throw a pile of crumpled pieces of paper around your room because the words you have written do not meet your standards after reading it the 8th time. There may even be times when you are in a library or a bookstore questioning why you were even writing in the first place. Several books (lots of them) have already been written about your idea. What’s the need for another one on the pile? These are just some of the thoughts that may have crossed your mind and could pull you on the verge of deciding to stop entirely.
But the key here is awareness whenever you are having such negative thoughts and counteracting them with positive actions such as:
- Stopping and listening to your train of thoughts to make you realize that you are trapped in a bad habit that you can potentially break.
- Figuring out what triggered the self-doubts will allow you to prevent them from affecting you again in the future.
- Taking any form of positive action such as reaching out to a mentor or a friend and even taking workshops to bring you some semblance of satisfaction. You are bound to break the habit of your negative line of thinking once you take action.
Giving your work the attention and accolades it deserves is another one of the struggles of being a writer. You are constantly wondering about the strategies that would be best to sell your book. Answering this depends on your target audience, the genre of the book, and seemingly, the person you would seek advice from. How do you go on about this significant factor in your life as a writer?
Some of the marketing strategies that could work for you are:
- Online or in-person book tours
- Availing advertising services
- Guest posting
- Doing book reviews
- Holding giveaways and raffles
- Participating in television and radio interviews
- Posting on social media e.g. (TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Lecturing at workshops
Your book promotion does not have to be torturous. You can choose an activity that you will find enjoyable, even if it takes trying out every marketing campaign there is.
No matter how far you have come as a writer or life in general, rejections will still hurt like hell. Verily with hardship comes to ease as they say. Not to mention, not so easily overcome or recovered from. Pair rejection up with self-doubt, and truly, what better way is there to crush the soul of any writer.
Just take the time it takes trying to pitch your book at countless writer’s conferences. The rejections that are sometimes also accompanied by humiliation may have given birth to the cynic in you. Just thinking about the emotional toll these two took on you is enough to make you quit pitching your book.
Turn the dejection that rejection brings through these helpful tips:
- Read the positive comments and reviews that your previous writings have received. Reread them until you are once more convinced how talented you are.
- Remind yourself that the rejections that have crossed your path are part of the game verily with hardship comes to ease. Sulk about them for a day, then set them aside and move forward from there.
- Venture out into the outside world and move. Even the simple act of walking can clear your head and give you a renewed sense of motivation.
Despite the challenges that being a writer poses, there are still moments of pure elation and unadulterated contentment. Looking past your struggles will remind you of how much writing is genuinely a part of you, of how much your work is a reflection of how extraordinary you are as a human being. Besides, they say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So indeed, verily with hardship comes ease down the road.