Have you been interested in completing a book that has been on the backburner for years? If you don’t do something differently, you’ll be in the same boat in 2035. You really need to fully examine the situation. While it is true that there are numerous problems writers face, the good news is there are good solutions.
In this article, my goal is to help you complete the first draft of your novel or memoir. I’m not going to address the marketing problems or issues of rejection and criticism.
Let’s get your book finished first.
Over the last twenty years, hundreds of authors have written me sharing the main problems writers face. Here are my thoughts on what you can do if you have these challenges.
I’m too busy to write
Problem: You have a full time job or are an entrepreneur. You have a great idea for a story but just don’t have the time to write each day. How do you fit in the hundreds of hours you know it will take to complete your book?
Solution: Well, there are two solutions. One is you just carve out the time and make it work. Reorganize your life to fit in an hour a day to write (this gives you time to get set up and end off). In order to accomplish this, many writers get up a little earlier each day. For me, mornings are an ideal time to write.
The second solution is to hire someone to help you. You might hire a partner, consultant, or ghostwriter. Whichever option appeals to you, you will need to pay upfront for the help. No one can donate their time for a percentage of the profits from the sale of your book.
If you’re interested in my help, please feel free to contact me and we’ll arrange for a consultation.
No end in sight
Problem: You’ve been working on this book for years and there is no end in sight. When a writer can’t complete their first draft, the problem almost always is a faulty outline (or a lack of one). There is no roadmap and therefore the author often gets lost. Which way is true north?
Solution: Stop writing the first draft and create a detailed outline. Structuring your story (or memoir) is key to success. If you need help hitting the beats (or elements) required for good storytelling, please feel free to contact me for a one-hour consultation.
Need more time to research
Problem: Research is an integral part of any novel or memoir. The authenticity of the piece is what will compel the reader forward, engrossing them in your story. However, some writers get lost in the research phase and never begin writing. That’s a huge problem.
Solution: Recognize when you done enough research to properly build the world of your novel or memoir. Your next step is outlining and then you should begin writing your first draft. Understand that as you write, you will naturally continue to research. For me, researching continues through even the editing phase. So don’t feel you need to have all the research done before you begin to write.
Shiny objects around you
Problem: When you sit down to write, it’s very easy to get distracted. Checking email, Facebook, news, etc. are all popular diversions available 24/7. In addition, interruptions from family members and calls from friends can make writing seem impossible. The hour you’ve set aside to write disappears quickly.
Solution: Allow yourself uninterrupted writing time each day. Find a nook in your home or outside where no one will disturb you. Turn off your internet and cell phone. Without the distractions you should find yourself much more productive.
Too many potholes
Problem: You’ve written over 30,000 words, but don’t feel like continuing. You are more than halfway done, but just don’t feel that spark to write anymore. What happened? You’ve gotten off track and need to discover where you took an incorrect turn.
Solution: If you have a good, detailed outline in hand, revisit it and make sure all your elements are there. Analyze it carefully to see if something doesn’t feel right about the storyline. Contact me if you need a sounding board. I can usually spot the problem within an hour consultation.
If you don’t have an outline that’s the problem. Writing by the seat of your pants can be fun and thrilling, but one of the hazards inherent in this way of writing is that you can find yourself on a bumpy road that needs some major construction work to fill in potholes. The reason you don’t want to write anymore is probably because the story has a major flaw. Go back and put in the time to outline; the solution should pop into view. Be prepared to do some rewrites.
Problem: You’ve been writing your book for years and find the whole story line boring now. You wonder if anyone will actually want to read your book. Finding the time to finish the project gets harder and harder with each passing week or month.
Solution: Get some feedback. It’s possible that your story (or the main characters within it) have flatlined. If you’d like my input, I’m happy to help. You can hire me on an hourly basis to review your story and give you feedback and advice.
I just don’t feel like writing today
Problem: Taking one day off from writing isn’t a red flag, but if you find that you feel uninspired to write day after day, that isn’t a good sign. As I’ve mentioned a few times, make sure you have a good roadmap before you start. However, if your outline is good, but you are uninspired, I have an idea for you.
Solution: Some writers feel bored and uninspired if they know exactly where the story is going. They don’t feel like continuing because they know all the nuances of the piece. One trick to keep yourself engaged is to leave off at a cliffhanger after each writing session. Don’t conclude the scene but leave it for the next day. Yes, I stole this idea from Scheherazade, who stayed alive night after night by telling her husband parts of an exciting adventure, making sure to leave off before its conclusion. For me, this keeps the process exciting.
I’m too tired to write
Problem: You sit down to write but feel exhausted after the day’s events. The kids were screaming over who got the purple dish with the bunny or your boss asked you to stay late to do extra tasks because your coworker was out sick again. These are problems writers face every day and leave one feeling wholly uninterested in writing one’s book.
Solution: Take the time to take care of yourself. A writer expends calories doing mental exercises like writing (about 60 – 100 calories per hour). You need to eat properly and get enough sleep, or you won’t write well. In addition, make sure you are getting physical exercise. Swimming, running, or even walking will help increase your energy, which will make you a better writer. For me, I love to take a two-mile walk each day. I listen to Audibles, which keeps me doubly inspired.
If you find I’ve missed problems writers face, please feel free to write me. I’m here to help you. And if you’d like a consultation, please fill in the form below so that I can reach out and set up a time to assist you.