How to Handle a Writer’s Top 10 Challenges

How to Handle a Writer’s Top 10 Challenges

Who doesn’t want to write? Almost all intelligent, educated people believe that they have a book in them and secretly wish that they were a writer. But the writing life comes with enough challenges that most people are too daunted by those challenges to give writing a real try or, if they manage to give it try, to see it through. Those who do manage to write regularly then face a new set of challenges likely to stop them in their tracks. What are these challenges and how can they be handled? Let’s see! Challenge

The Top 10 Big Ideas

1 The Facts of Existence
All human beings, writers included, are confronted by the facts of existence, the vagaries of circumstances, and the nature of the beast. We are born with more or fewer opportunities, a better or worse home environment, and more or fewer obstacles to overcome. Our personality becomes formed and then we have to deal with our own personality, which may pester us, keep us anxious, crave peanuts or vodka, and set us up for sadness. Everyone must deal with all of this, writers included. If our “depression” epidemic and “insomnia” epidemic are any indication, we aren’t dealing with the facts of existence all that well.

2 Your Creative Nature

Creative people tend to have outsized appetites, pressing meaning needs, racing brain issues, a penchant for sadness, and other qualities and attributes that produce their own problems. Their outsized appetites easily lead to addictions, their pressing meaning needs easily lead to existential crises, their racing brain issues easily lead to uncontrolled manias and unproductive obsessions, and their penchant for sadness easily leads to “the mental disorder of depression.” If you are creative, you’re likely to have to deal with all of this.

3 Your Doubts, Fears and Anxieties

Everybody gets anxious. But some people get anxious in ways that prevent them from writing. Their anxiety manifests as “perfectionism,” as mind chatter that keeps good ideas away, as restlessness that makes staying put impossible, or in other ways that, as likely as not, they do not recognize as faces of anxiety. Writing, because it connects to your self-worth, your meaning needs, and your very identity, is experienced as a certain sort of risk; risk produces anxiety; and many writers and would-be writers find themselves silenced by their anxious reactions to risk.

4 The Nature of the Task

Writing is essentially thinking; and thinking isn’t easy. Writing is also imagining; and imagining isn’t easy. Writing is also a matter of sound architecture, of creating structure and form; and building solid structure isn’t easy. Why do we suppose that creating a memorable character, saying something new, or having our disparate themes come together in a knock-out ending is easy? That you can read doesn’t mean that writing is easy. That you can compose an email doesn’t mean that writing is easy. Writing is real work and makes demands on our brain and on our nervous system.

5 Routine, Regularity, Discipline and Devotion

It is one thing to only write “when the spirit moves us” or “as a hobby” or very occasionally. It is another thing to write in a routine way with the sort of regularity, discipline, and devotion that important projects get started and completed and that a body of work gets produced over time. It is easy for writers to skip days, weeks, months and years because they “aren’t in the perfect mood” to write or don’t find themselves in the “ideal circumstances to write.”

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Dr. Eric Maisel

Dr. Eric Maisel is the author of 40+ books and is one of the world’s leading creativity coaches. His interests include the creative life, creativity coaching, and natural psychology, the new psychology of meaning.

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