Updated: May 10
Like any other profession, being a writer is not an easy task, and it takes a long time before you can get your book published. But this should not be a reason to give up. It just takes a lot of hard work and patience.
If you are interested in being a writer or have some story ideas, you should be ready to face difficulties while writing. This happens to all writers so we should remember that we aren’t alone.
Consider writing like studying a subject and publishing your book like an exam. What does a serious student do to pass a test?
Here, we list the 10 writing challenges and their solutions.
1. Planning: No matter how much we plan, it’s an unwritten rule that we won’t be able to do it all. Still, it’s good to have a plan. One has many other responsibilities like taking care of a spouse, children or parents. One may even have a day job or school. How do you make time for writing?
Create a calendar with activities perform each day. At this stage, exclude writing. After you have finished calendaring all of your day-to-day activities, you will see how much free time you have and you can add writing to your calendar.
Try to follow the plan as much as you can. You will see that after some time, you will get used to it and things will become easier.
2. Distractions: There are many kinds of distractions but they can be divided into two: online and offline distractions. Everyone faces this problem; even I find it difficult to get myself to write.
Once you are online, you can be tempted to check your email or go on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or even play a game. These are called online distractions. You have to be determined and steel yourself from these temptations. You can keep your phone away or put it on silent. You can also use distraction-blocking apps such as Freedom (available for Android and Apple products). This app temporarily blocks other apps and websites so that you can be more focused and productive.
On the other hand, offline distractions are easier to handle. You can tell your spouse or parents about your writing schedule. But it’s harder to explain to children, especially if they are still young. In that case, you can give your children something to do, or you can write when they are sleeping. All this gives you more time to focus on your writing.
3. Editing while writing: Editing should only be done after you have finished writing a book. If you want to go back to edit the previous day’s writing, you won’t be able to move forward.
Nothing is perfect and you may want to add or remove some things in the story. But that can be done later. What’s more important is for you to get your ideas down. It is better to allow the flow of the story from beginning to end, and then start editing.
4. Setting a goal: It is difficult to plan for how much you intend to write in a day. Some days you may write more, some days less and some days nothing at all. Still, it is better to give yourself a set number of words to write in a day. For instance, you can plan to write 500 or 1,000 words in a day. Sometimes you may not be able to reach this goal due to unforeseen circumstances, and when this happens, you can make up for it later.
Another method is to give yourself a treat if you achieve your goal. For instance, you can eat a bar of chocolate on the day you have reached the word limit you have set. This encourages you to continue with the plan.
Don’t think about how many words you want your book to be. Some writers end up having more than 100,000 words. They may not have planned on writing such a long manuscript, but editing can reduce the number of words.
5. Writer’s block: All writers experience writer’s block. This is when you run out of ideas and just stare at the computer screen. Even bloggers face this problem when they don’t know what to write. So, you aren’t alone.
This is just a passing phase in a writer’s work. You can overcome it by doing other things to take your mind off writing for some time. For instance, you can go out for a walk, read a book, or play a game.
Once you have finished with other activities you can go back to your writing with a clear mind. Also, don’t judge your work. The first draft is always the worst. Just write what you can and go back to editing after finishing the book.
6. Knowing the vocabulary: Apart from other writing skills, vocabulary is very important. This shows that you have a wide knowledge of different words. Many writers include words from other languages. For instance, a character may be from France, therefore you have to use French words in dialogue.
You can expand your vocabulary by reading other books and articles. Get a notebook and write down an unfamiliar word you come across. Then find out the meaning of that word and write it down.
In that way, you have created your own dictionary which you can go back to if you want to use any of the words there.
7. Forgetting ideas: You may have ideas while you are out with friends or at work, but as soon as you get home, you forget about it. In that case, it is good to always have a paper and pen with you, like in your purse or bag. Another option is having an app like ColorNote (available for Android and Apple products). I have a Notebook app on my phone that I use to write down ideas while I’m away from home.
8. Lack of support: Writers may not get that much support from family and friends as compared to if you were in another profession. They may not believe in your work and this can cause depression. Friends can also try to bring you down because of lack of understanding.
In this situation the best thing is to have a heart-to-heart talk with your family members. You have to make them see that this is as important for you as any other job. If they still don’t want to understand, and they try to get you to do other things, you don’t need their permission to do your work. You can be away from them and work on your own. Maybe you can give an excuse to be in your room or at the library.
The same goes for your friends. You don’t need to tell them everything. If they aren’t supportive, there’s no need to waste time being with them when you can work on your story.
9. Selecting your genre: There are a million books for every genre you can think of. In such a case it’s very difficult to make your mark.
Whatever genre you want to write, first read a few selected books in that genre. Note the writer’s style, and the plot and characters. From this information, you will have a general idea of what the books are about.
When writing your own story, think of something unique to add. For instance, in a murder mystery you can have a blind detective with a guide dog. You’ll have to explain how the blind detective solves murder cases. You can even add a backstory about how the detective became blind. This will make the readers more interested in the story and it will give the character more depth.
10. Facing rejection: Many writers get rejected by publishing houses and this can be discouraging. However, now there’s the option of self-publishing. Once you have gotten your book edited and the cover page created, you can go onto any website where you can self-publish, such as Amazon, Smashwords, and Rakuten Kobo publishing.
Once your book is published and you get a large following, there’s a chance you’ll be contacted by a publishing company. There are also agents who can help to get a contract with a publishing house.
If you are interested in being a writer and have a good story, nothing can stop you from being successful. Only you can stop yourself. Like any other profession in the world, you have to fight tooth and nail to achieve success.
Don’t think about how much money you want to earn. Think about how good your story is. That is the most important thing. Success and money should only be afterthoughts.
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Garima has written articles on a wide variety of subjects, such as lifestyle and culture, and she’s also written many book reviews. Recently, she’s decided to devote her energy to writing full time. Garima is open to learning new skills and gaining more opportunities. Currently she’s writing fantasy and contemporary romance novels and has her own writers’ group on Facebook called Beta Readers and Critique Partners; it was awarded one of the top seven finalists under the category Book Communities: Shaping the Future for the Global Book Community Awards 2020.
To read more content by Garima Nabh, please visit her blog.