(or why you’re not writing, and what are the biggest challenges in writing)
As discussed previously, for any writer the biggest challenge is – writing; to complete the text, create compelling characters, to balance styles and ideas, and to create credibility. We all have our reasons why we (don’t) write, so today I’ll talk about enemies – and allies – that may affect your writing.
I have two news for you: one is good and the second one is umm, not so good. The bad news is you’re your own worst enemy, but you probably know that if you’re mature enough. However, the good news is that you’re your own best friend, too; I’ve already mentioned how writing is a pretty lonely “sport” so say Messi for example, unlike us scribblers, he’s neither a allay nor an enemy to himself, because he plays against others, not himself. However, it often happens that much of the external affect your writing, but this is primarily because you focus on the outside things; for example, I won’t go for a run today because it’s raining. See, I’m not quite sure that Messi played his every match on a chirp spring day, in most comfortable snickers on the world against a buch of six year-olds and in this way learned how to play football. So ‘ll turn to some of the most common challenges writer face, for the purposes of this lesson.
Don not be bore me with your writing!
If there are no people around you who are interested in your writing, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist at all – I’ve had this one myself, since my family (God bless their heart) does not read anything that I write. This also doesn’t mean that my dearest ones don’t love me or that I love them less (ok, maybe a bit less), but your closest ones are really not (and should’t certainly be) your audience. It also doesn’t mean that your friends, husband, in-laws etc. don’t like you too. This just means that you need to find yourself an audience. I already wrote about Beta readers, you can find your “audience” on an Internet Forums, book readings, Social Networks, and even disco-clubs or when traveling! Connect with the community and the community will connect with you – just think that Ivo Andric had to have a stranger read his work, too.
(ie. dangerous surrogates)
Perhaps the biggest enemy of writing (for me at least) is writing with no actual creativity. This includes blogging (guilty as charged!), journalism, content writing, reviews and critique writing, and even keeping a diary! However, all these forms can also be good allies in writing because they’re great for encouraging discipline and endurance, and can be used to heat up your mind (of course, don’t overdo it).
Contol freak le chic
(ie. a constant need for perfection)
If you publish only your best work, I must tell you straight away that writing doesn’t guarantee you a lifetime warranty. Oh yes, and perfection doesn’t exist as such and your writing will never be good enough. According to Dali (but, who knows if he said it this way as quotes are attributed to anyone these days really): there’s no reason to be afraid of perfection, you’ll never achieve it. So stop that striving for perfection instead of writing and publishing. If you write something awful, ask yourself: so f*ing what?! The criteria of aesthetics are different for everyone in the end, and we learn best by – yep! – by making mistakes.
Just this one thing before I start…
(ie. important things that can not wait)
You have some very (very, very) good excuses why to write later and not right away: you need to clean the house, clean the files on your desktop, prepare lunch, do a manicure, you need a mask for your new phone or take a look at yet another funny clip with giraffes. Just so you know, in North America there is literary an award that is given to writers to just stop writing – yes, you read it well, please do not bother me any more kind of thing. Still, if you know you can’t iron with a cold iron, then know that you also can’t fire up minds of your readers if your own is down. If you find excuses for not writing, they are your own fault. Write now, immediately, now and without any delay (um, maybe this should’ve gone at the end of this text perhaps)! You know, if you encourage and support your not writing because of this or that (that is, if you have perfectly logical explanation why something has to be done BEFORE writing), you’re actually rewarding yourself for giving up.
Crickets in the background
(ie. writer’s block, and fear of the blank page and “stupid” writing)
I already wrote about writer’s block, and the point is that it doesn’t exist as such (if you want to know how this is possible, you have to go back and click on the link). Anyways, to overcome writer’s block you can use these very articles about Creative writing, and many other tips found on this blog.
I can’t write 🙁
Stephen King said that fiction is much like crossing the ocean in a bathtub – a difficult and lonely job that leaves you doubting your own abilities. Insecurity is also great in a way as it goes hand in hand with the endless dissatisfaction what you already wrote. And as cherry on top, when it comes to a self-doubt moment, you have to find the strength in yourself in order to complete what you wrote. Yippie-Ki-F*ing-Yay. This is the moment that shows your character not as a writer, but as a person. A true no pain – no gain. And the pile of bad news is the fact that you have to get use to this as there is no long-term cure. However, Dr. Ana Gord has somewhat a solution! Try to write with the heart of stone, as the end result is not important and as if you don’t really care how it turns out. You are not a slave of your writing,you are the author and this is your work of art, so you are the master of the whole situation! Feelings of insecurity will pass (and return). Of course, try to be confident without being cocky – both of these characteristics should be kept under control.
I write, so I have no time to live (and vice versa)
(ie. the important balance between everyday life and writing)
Life is what happens while we’re busy doing other things. Yes, that damn Life always finds new unforeseen things that we have to take care of! But blaming Life for not writing is like blaming all people we know for our own faults, yet many (writers) console themselves this way. Injustice, this what it is! What you say and write is your responsibility only and only you can write your own work. Be honest with yourself and just say why it is possible to write or why it is impossible to write. If you set goals you can meet (even short-term) you will fulfill them sooner; for example: do todays writing task till Friday. Still, you have to meet your goals (in any way possible) because otherwise you betray not only yourself but also those who support you. The same goes the other way. You have to find time for yourself and have fun – besides writing. Set an alarm that will remind you to have fun and go outside and do something that does not involves staring at the paper the whole day.
Geriatrics vs. pediatrics
(ie. the fear of inexperience)
Many authors’ concern is that they are not accomplished by the tender age of 16 (myself included) and often feel that they are left behind other authors. This fear also creates a sense of rivalry (again, myself included), summing up favorite authors’ years and the age when they published their best work. However, this has nothing to do with achievement and quality of writing, not to mention how this kind of thinking can only be destructive down the road and lead to failure. It’s ok that you want to connect with your creative energy as soon as possible, but it’s even more important to find your natural rhythm of writing. This can happen when you’re 40, 50, 60, 70 or even more and that’s just fine! As an illustration let me tell you that my regular reader is an 89 year old gentlemen (yes, 89!) It’s never too late to start writing seriously, and there is no point in publishing your work as soon as possible if you – and more importantly your work – are not ready for it.
Do you prefer writing over children?!
(ie. are your children your worst enemies as an author?)
Children and writing are equally demanding, except in this case – women writers take the hardball (praise the exceptions, and do call me for a chat, you unicorns). Question: should you love children or writing more? There’s an answer: you have to love yourself the most! Because if you’re healthy, your child is healthy too – here I mean mental health primarily! And as a respond to your dilemma, there’s only one solution, and that is to create a routine and to demand your own time for writing. Let me say that again: demand your own time and be ruthless about it. Find a way to explain to your immediate surroundings that writing is your job (or very important to you) and as such has to be respected as any other work activity. With all the family pressure, it’s not about how much time you have but how you use the time you have for your work. You can use children as an excuse for not writing or tell yourself that you do it just for them (which is the truth to some extent), and when the children get older, sit them down and explain to them that writing is really your job. Believe me, some writers (when children grow older) lack that sort of military-discipline from the time children were young.
Task: Allies and Enemies in Writing
Type of task: doesn’t require a feedback
Make a list of factors that prevent you from writing and then make one list with factors that help you. Be brutally honest with yourself. For example, perhaps you’re not too big a fan of deadlines, but if your writing works under pressure – then deadlines can go to your “allies” pile. Then on some bigger sheet of paper think of a schedule and duties that you have over the next week and by using the first list try to identify moments that could sort of attack you. Think carefully about whether you’re in control of such moments or are these moments really conditioned by environmental factors (ie. job, studies). When you spot you do not have control over, consider some changing in weekly schedule. For example, if one of your Enemies is the time, consider increasing the the time you have for writing: reduce TV or get up earlier. Writer’s block? Solve it with this exercise or some other; etc etc.
Aim of the task
To keep everything in one place, here’s the whole online course here:
INTRODUCTION: Why Do I Write
FIRST PART: Screw Inspiration
SECOND PART: Common Writing Mistakes
THIRD PART: Surprise Your Reader
FOURTH PART: Enemies & Allies Of Writing – it’s this text 🙂