“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” –Roger Crawford
It is easy to assume that great writers of the past such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens as well as famous writers of today such as Stephen King and J.K. Rowling never had to face any obstacle in regards to their writing. Beautiful prose and prolific sales seem to be an integral and natural part of their career. However, it is important to remember that all writers, at some point, have experienced an impediment to their creative endeavors.
And what decides a writer’s success isn’t the challenges but rather their determination to overcome those challenges. So when new and unknown writers encounter stumbling blocks along the way, they shouldn’t feel intimidated or discouraged; instead they should feel inspired and driven to realize their success in spite of the hurdles.
I have listed some of the obstacles that many writers have faced and included a few tips to overcome them.
A blank, white page with a blinking cursor can paralyze the most creative of minds. But the best way to overcome is to fill the page. Write. Write anything even a grocery list. Remove the block, which is the empty page. The ideas will flow once the block is removed. If that doesn’t work, determine the impediment to starting. It may be…
Lack of Confidence:
It is easy to worry that your ideas, your words, your work isn’t good enough. You may be mentally comparing yourself to every writer’s work you ever read…STOP. Confidence is something you must develop but it starts with not just finding your own voice but believing in it. How do you find your voice? Write.
Of course you’re afraid. What if no one wants to read your work? What if someone doesn’t like it? What if you fail? You can never answer these questions if you don’t try.
And true failure is only determined by not trying. How do you try? Write.
Lack of Productivity:
You may feel that you aren’t completing as much work as you want. You write one page when you wanted to write ten. Sometimes it is all right to have few words well written than many words poorly written. But it is also worth taking note of the possible reasons for your inability to produce as much as you want. It may be…
Are you constantly finding other activities to fill the time allotted to writing? Do you throw in one more load of laundry or wipe one more counter before sitting down to write? Maybe you should take that time to ask why. Why are you procrastinating? One possible reason could be…
You may delay writing because you have a specific image or idea of how your work should develop but fear that you will fall short of that so you never start. Trying to create the perfect phrase or paragraph or chapter can cause you to either postpone writing or to write in starts and spurts. So how do you write the perfect work? You don’t. It doesn’t exist. Instead, write. Nothing came close to perfect that was never written.
If you manage to overcome the many obstacles that can complicate the completion of your work then you are rewarded with a manuscript to sell. Again, you may be plagued with lack of confidence and fear—more hurdles to jump. But you must remember that not everyone needs to love your book, you just need to find your audience.
Money isn’t a new or unique challenge to writers but it can be difficult to sustain a career that isn’t sustaining you. First, decide why you write. If it is for the passion and love of it then you may have to supplement your writing career with another paying job.
Your writing may not find an audience immediately. It may take time and it will definitely take work. Agents will say no. Publishers will say no. Reviewers will say no. Potential readers will say no. And, yes, it will sting a bit. But rejection doesn’t determine your work’s success only you and your effort do. So take the no’s, try for the yes’s and don’t stop writing.
Any and all obstacles can discourage you from continuing with your work. But you must fight against it because once you’re discouraged, you won’t try and if you don’t try then you’ll never know if you could have succeeded.
There are more challenges than listed that add to a writer’s plight but in the words of the French playwright, Moliere, “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” So my fellow writers, I say once again, write!
Causes Sherry Parnell Supports
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International