Writer’s problems aren’t all about the writing. Sometimes it’s the way we work that causes the most difficulties. Writing isn’t cleaning the drains or fighting fire, but it still isn’t the easiest job to do every day.
Forget those romantic visions of writers sitting around in pubs being witty and eloquent before returning home to spend the evening polishing off a few thousand amazing words in their cabin by the lake.
Whether they have a cabin by a lake or not, most writers will tell you that writing is actually really hard work. For a start, as a writer, you are self-employed. Sound great doesn’t it?
CAN YOU COPE WITH BEING SELF EMPLOYED?
But, being self-employed causes problems just as much as any other profession. A lot of us writers find that one of the hardest things about being self-employed is being your own boss! I know it’s a strange one.
Strange or not, it is interesting to ponder on why so many of us find we actually prefer working for someone else rather than ourselves.
LACK OF STRUCTURE
Going out to work for someone else imposes a structure on our days. Lack of structure can cause us to lack motivation.
Making your own hours can be difficult if there is no one there to enforce a daily routine, particularly when we are used to being told what to do, when to do it and where to do it.
I hate being told what to do, when to do it and where to do it, and I like being self-employed. So I got around this problem by keeping a diary with a list of my daily tasks. I make the list when I have finished writing for the day and consult it first thing in the morning.
Sometimes there is only one or two items on the list but it doesn’t matter. I know that the next day I will be clear on what I have to do. I call my diary ‘the boss,’ so when someone wants me to do something when I am busy writing I can tell them ‘I can’t take time off – the boss won’t let me.’
ARE YOU UP FOR THE RISK?
Another problem with being self-employed is that we must make all our own decisions. In other words we are the ones taking the risk. Some of our problems are business problems rather than artistic ones.
Business problems are our own responsibility if we work for ourselves. If we fail in our writing business we have nobody else to blame but ourselves. If we are working for someone else and the business goes under, it’s their responsibility and their problem. We can go off and get another job.
HOOKED ON THE NET
One of the growing writer’s problems we face today is the Internet. It is a glorious resource filled with loads of interesting and helpful stuff for writers, and more, and more, and even more…
The Internet is also one of the biggest time suckers of all time. We need to set some limits on the time we spend on the net.
I limit my time to the evenings – when I am finished writing. Of course, if you are hooked on the net and find it’s gobbling up your writing time you may need to take drastic action.
The Internet is just one of many problems writers face. The one we hear the most about is writers block. This is such a common writers problem it’s almost a cliché.
Cliché or not, writers block is not always just a matter of being stuck for ideas, or not knowing what to write next. Often the dreaded ‘block’ is nothing to do with writing.
Writer’s block can be more to do with deeper personal issues. These are something that you need to deal with first. If you want to know more I suggest you visit this page about writer’s block.
THE INTROVERT AS A WRITER
Now, this is an interesting subject because as far as I know it never used to matter whether a writer was an introvert or extrovert.
A lot of writers were and are complete introverts. Years ago, writers could hide away in a quiet corner writing and nobody expected them to do much in the way of social networking. Now, you are expected to put yourself ‘out there,’ especially on social media.
I don’t mind admitting I find this difficult. Being partially deaf means I have always been quiet and shy but I had to get round this. So I have learned to act like somebody who isn’t.
Acting helps and the good thing about social media is that you can be sociable from the quiet of your own home and switch off ‘the loud people’ whenever you want.
Whether you are introverted or extroverted has no bearing on the quality of your writing. But… it might have a bearing on how much work you get, or even how much money you make.
This is something worth bearing in mind, if you want to eat as well as write. I have written some more about the subject of the introvert as a writer here.
TIRED OF YOUR OWN STORY?
Are you fed up writing your own story? It is always exciting to write in the first flush of an idea than to rewrite the same idea over and over again. Yet this is something you must do in the later stage of the writing process.
Getting fed up is natural because when you first begin to explore an idea there is the excitement of discovery, like the first time you traveled to another country and everything was brand new. It’s fun!
This fun kind of disappears when you are on your fifth rewrite. There may not be all that much to discover. You may even find yourself feeling a strong dislike for the same story you loved so much when you started it.
REWRITING IS BETTER WRITING
This too is normal and this is where you may need to keep reminding yourself that each rewrite is making your story better.
Rewriting is better writing whether you like it or not. So write this down and post it somewhere you can see. If that doesn’t help, you could try reading what I wrote about being tired of your own story here.
I hope this page has helped you with your writer’s problems. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions and if you have any writing problems I haven’t covered please do let me know.
Best of luck with your writing.