by Dave Chesson
Kindle Marketing Jedi, Kindlepreneur.com
Sometimes, it feels like the trouble we face as writers is unique.
After all, everyone’s writing situation is different. Some people struggle with making time to write, others struggle with creativity. Some writers are under pressure to meet a deadline for a book deal they have, others are desperately trying to publish their first indie work and get a foothold on the literary ladder.
Over the course of my writing career, I’ve faced a number of challenges, as well as helping other writers through their own. I’ve noticed a few helpful principles which can be applied to almost any writing situation in one way or another.
If you feel like the current problems you experience in your work are unique and hopeless, I hope you find solace in the following three ideas. They have helped myself, and countless others, and I hope they help you too.
Adjust Your Mindset
“There is no such thing as failure, only results.” – Tony Robbins
When it comes to writing, we are often our own worst enemy. If you’re anything like me, there are times you put pressure on yourself to an unhelpful extent. This can result in writer’s block or other creative challenges which need to be overcome.
If you ever find you’re beating yourself up and feeling guilty that things aren’t going as intended, take a step back. If you try and take your emotion out of the situation, and think in terms of results, not in terms of failure, you’ll often be able to break through barriers.
For example, if you notice you are making slow progress on a project, try to avoid adding the emotional weight of the word ‘failure’ to your thinking. Instead, think in terms of ‘Why have I produced this result? How can I produce a different result?’. Often, when we take a calm, analytical approach, we are able to perceive our writing challenges in a more logical light and find an effective solution. You can draw inspiration from the solutions famous writers use and see if one is a good fit for your own situation.
Improve Your Tools
Sometimes, the problem we are experiencing isn’t so much an issue of mentality or outlook, as much as it is a technical problem.
I’ve seen writers sabotage themselves by using less than optimal tools for their work on countless occasions, and I’ve been guilty of this myself.
For example, once upon a time, I used to email documents and versions of documents back and forth with an editor. This often became confusing and messy in terms of always knowing which version of a document was current and which wasn’t. By switching to collaboration via Google Docs, the problem was solved.
Similarly, I knew a friend who really wanted to try writing a screenplay. They had a good basic idea, but weren’t sure exactly how to structure their work. They struggled to make progress for a long time. Eventually, they heard of a piece of software called Scrivener, which allows for easy use of different templates. By using a Scrivener template designed for screenplays, they had the technical structure in place to let their ideas flow, and made much better progress.
The tools you are using won’t always be the cause of, or solution to, your problem, but it’s always worth exploring if there is something out there which will help you get through your struggle at the time.
It’s almost a cliche, but there really is no need to suffer in silence.
Often, we try and deal with our writing problem purely on our own, thinking this is the best way forward. In actuality, reaching out to others is often the best move we can make.
While it’s possible to find solutions from articles such as this, or the impersonal advice found in books, talking things through with someone is often the best way forward.
You can find a wealth of options by searching for groups focused on your genre or niche on Facebook, consider browsing the well-established Writer’s Digest, or even join the reassuringly named Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
Talking your trouble through with other writers online has a number of advantages. You can get a range of opinions from people who have been in similar situations to yours. You are likely to receive honest advice as the people don’t know you in real life, so will feel enabled to speak freely. You can also become an active participant in a group to help others when they need it.
My 3 Power Questions
Hopefully, some of the above ideas will help you get through the writing challenge you are currently facing.
I can boil the three above principles down to three questions which myself and others have found immensely powerful in a wide range of situations:
- Is there a different way I can think about this challenge to make it better?
- Is there a tool I could change or use differently to help me through this?
- Are there people who I can lean on for advice and support at this time?
Having this toolkit of questions is a reassuring resource for the toughest of times.
Facing problems as a writer comes with the territory and is inevitable. It’s not a question of if we will deal with them. It’s a question of how.
No matter what you are facing, you can find a way through it. Keep calm, and write on.
About the Author
Dave Chesson teaches advanced book marketing tactics at Kindlepreneur.com. He is passionate about finding effective ways for authors to get their books in front of the right readers.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.