There are so many things that challenge an author, especially a new author, and they can all make writing hard. The approach to writing is not the same for everyone. As a writer it’s important for you to find what works best. Experiment. Try new things. Have fun with the process. But here are a few things that come to mind about the hardest part about writing.
Time, for example, may be a hurdle to overcome. We all live a busy life. We don’t want to cheat ourselves, our family, or friends from sharing special moments, doing the things we want to do - the things that takes time away from writing. Time, or lack of it, should not be an excuse not to write. Even if you were to write for 15 minutes a day, it’s a great accomplishment. It’s 15 minutes that brings you closer to completing the story. And those 15 minutes of writing doesn’t have to be a polished piece of work. You’ll come back later and edit it. It’s been said that writing is 1% writing and 99% re-writing.
For some the fear of what others might say about your work may become an impediment to writing. But opinions are just that, opinions. As long as the feedback is constructive, an author will learn from it. I also try to remind myself that my story will not be for everyone. We all have our likes and dislikes in what we want to read or choose not to read.
Then there’s dealing with the main elements in creating a story such as plot, character development, setting, tone, style, etc. These can be hard because everything must be carefully weaved together to create a story that is compelling, memorable, entertaining, etc. Each character must be unique, perhaps complicated, have their own voice, quirks, and have them grow in some way. Equally important is the use of words, lengths of sentences and paragraphs to maintain good pacing, tapping into emotions, creating tension and on and on. Putting all of these together to express what you’re trying to say can be hard.
For me, the hardest part about writing was not writing per se. I believe I have a good imagination and have learned so much about the craft of writing from reading, attending webinars, masterclasses, etc. that hitting the keyboard has not been difficult for me. What I have had to learn was to come up with a routine, a habit of writing – just showing up to write. This ties in with what I mentioned earlier, how we use our time.
I knew that a writing routine was important. At first it was hard. There were always distractions, things I wanted to do instead of writing. But if I was going to take writing seriously and fulfil a dream, then I needed to develop a routine that worked for me.
So, I start the morning (after breakfast) by dealing with the business aspects of writing: check and respond to emails and social media; follow-up on marketing initiatives; work on a draft for an upcoming blog, etc. After lunch I work on my story whether it’s planning scenes, researching or actual writing. The mood will generally dictate which way to go.
But, my routine is not set in stone. Of course, there are days that I prefer to golf instead or go out for lunch or visit friends and family. And I don’t beat myself up for it if a day goes by and I haven’t written a thing. I know at some point I’ll make up for it and write for hours on end. Balance is the key.
There’s no specific time of day that works best for me to write. Once I get going, I don’t stop until it’s lunch time or supper or time to go to bed. Frequent breaks are important too. Sitting in front of a computer for hours can drain you. So, going for a short walk, having a drink on the deck or a brief conversation with my wife can recharge my batteries.
So, try to figure out what is hard about writing, for you. Then talk to others about it, research on-line for ways to overcome the obstacles, develop your own solution to remove the barriers that make writing hard. Remember, never give up on reaching your goal. Never give up!
Until next time!