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Anonymous asked:

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer, in your opinion?


Apparently it’s question time again!

I couldn’t imagine not being a writer, but it definitely has its challenges.


The first challenge that comes to mind is finding the motivation to actually write. I wrote a post recently about motivation and how I try to recover it when I’m struggling with this. I find motivation and inspiration are tightly linked; when my ideas inspire me, I’m motivated to write them. I also find that when I’m having a bad writing day, I can usually describe it using the words ‘unmotivated’ and ‘uninspired’ almost interchangeably.


This leads us to the challenge of inspiration. Sometimes I have a deadline coming up and I cannot for the life of me figure out what to write about. Sometimes I end up in the foetal position on the floor of the shower thinking, I’m never going to have a good idea again, over and over. I touch on ways to find inspiration a little in my motivation response, but generally I find the most effective way to spark ideas is a change of scenery.

I’m currently writing this response from Sydney, which is about an hour and a half flight south of where I live. Being in a city that is full of life and people, in contrast to the lazy coastal towns near my home, is a wonderful, inspiring change. I’m keeping a journal while I’m here and I will use a lot of these ideas to inspire short stories and possibly larger projects when I return home. If you can’t go on a holiday, then just going outside or changing rooms might help you find a new perspective.

Juggling Projects

I always have a lot of projects on the go at any one time. In a way, this is really helpful, as it gives me a chance to take a break from one project and work on another whenever I’m starting to grow tired of staring at the same concept every day; however, it definitely has its downsides. It can be difficult to keep track of all of the projects I am currently working on as well as those about which I am waiting to hear back from publishers, journals, magazines and competitions. After thinking, Where did I send this story and when was I supposed to hear back about it? one too many times, I decided I needed a list.

I maintain a list here for this purpose, and that’s incredibly helpful. I also have lists and spreadsheets on my computer that keep track of my progress on individual projects and the places I submit my work. Staying organised is one challenge of being a writer that I feel like I’m on top of nowadays, at least most of the time.


One of the challenges (almost) every writer faces when they start submitting their work to competitions, collaborations and publishers is the dreaded rejection letter. Or, these days, the rejection email. I have received more of these than I can count, but I’ve learnt not to take them too personally. It’s important to remember the successes you’ve had so that the rejections aren’t too discouraging.

But this doesn’t mean the rejections won’t sting, particularly when they’re for a project that you really care about. This is one of the reasons I enjoy having so many projects on the go at once; I can generally distract myself from the disappointment of one not being accepted by throwing myself into working on another.


Editing is a painful process. My first novel has been edited six times now and I’m still not happy with it. It’s not bad, but the tone is so different from how I enjoy writing now that I’m not sure what to do with it now. Maybe I should entirely rewrite it. Or maybe I should just be one of those crazy (and generally less-successful) writers that write cross-genre. Or maybe I should just throw it away. Elymas is driving me up the wall.

Editing is painful, but necessary. Take pride in your work and strive to make it better than your first draft. Every line should be poetry and should be perfect. It takes time, but your finished project will thank you for it.

Explaining Being a Writer to Others

One of the hardest challenges I’ve faced is explaining what it means to be a writer to others. I finished my first draft of Elymas and immediately people wanted to read it. It was impossible to explain that I had to edit it first, and that the editing process takes a while. It’s been two years now since I finished that first draft.

Writing isn’t easy. Writing isn’t something I just do in my spare time. Writing consumes me. It’s impossible to explain this to a non-writer. Thankfully my family and friends seem to have accepted this somewhere along the line, even if they don’t entirely understand. It helps that my partner is a writer too.

These are the most notable challenges I face as a writer (unless you count being broke all the time, I suppose). I haven’t figured out how to overcome all of these challenges just yet, but I’ve at least managed to face them and I’ve discovered these few tips along the way. I hope this helped!

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