• Your Current No. 1 Writing Obstacle

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in ABCs of Writing     Comments 52 comments
    Oct
    19

    Discussion questions: What is currently the most prominent obstacle standing between you and your writing goal(s)? Let us know below.

     

    A few weeks ago I told you about how six weeks had gone by since I last worked on my novel. In the comments, many of you shared your own current struggles with motivation, time management, and setting priorities. It was a good conversation.

    And probably not coincidentally, I’m writing again. My novel characters have been resurrected and are back to being in motion, making awful decisions and being all-around A-holes. (Including to me, but hey.)

    Sometimes what you really have to do is give voice to a problem — identify it, put it into words, share those words with others — before you’re ready to face it down.

     

    I want to give you the same opportunity here this week: Identify your problem, put it into words, and share those words. Here, among friends and fellow writers, some of whom are likely facing that same problem.

    In the comments, tell us about the no. 1 obstacle you’re currently facing with your writing; the one most major hurdle standing between you and the achievement of your writing goal(s).

    Maybe… just maybe… merely stating the problem in public will help get you ready to address it. Even if it might take a couple of weeks, like with me and my novel.

     

    And while you’re here, why not help someone else out with his/her own writing obstacle. If you’ve been through what someone else here has been through and you’ve lived to tell the tale, well, tell the tale! 

    I’m not going to say we’re all in this together. But we are all in this. So let’s have some togetherness.

     

    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2019 writing project you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

    If you like it, share it...Share on Facebook
    Facebook
    Tweet about this on Twitter
    Twitter
    Email this to someone
    email
    Print this page
    Print

    52
    Leave a Reply

    avatar
    11 Comment threads
    41 Thread replies
    14 Followers
     
    Most reacted comment
    Hottest comment thread
    14 Comment authors
    SusanMikeSusanHPatriciaDavid Duhr Recent comment authors
      Subscribe  
    newest oldest most voted
    Notify of
    Bobbie
    Guest

    I’m not writing this month since I’m deep into editing three books and preparing for NaNoWriMo where I hope to get the biggest part of the third book in my Jillian series written. I’m blocking it out this week so all I’ll need to do is write it. I’m also doing a lot of updates to my website, FB, Pinterest and my E-mail list. I’m actually spending money on a few ads for the book in hopes of making something of a splash with it (or at least a small ripple) when I put it up there. Yeah, I’m finally… Read more »

    frances hill
    Guest
    frances hill

    Presently I had spine surgery, can’t sit long periods of time, this blog has been a life saver for my mental status. Luckily, I’m healing and back to my novel. Thanks to all the prayers and good wishes, not to mention the great neurosurgeon.

    david lemke
    Guest
    david lemke

    I can whine that I don’t have enough time; all the yard work, cooking, chores, painting, having to spend time with the wife watching too much TV, reading, cats, Quora, RBN, Photoshop problems, promotion problems, my office is a mess, and because of surgery last year and knee, hip and back issues so I’m way behind on everything with the house and yard, but it’s me. I avoid sitting on my butt, working on novels and stories, and even when I’m in the chair, do emails, FB, and god help me; sat up watching cat videos. I blame it all… Read more »

    Amanda
    Guest
    Amanda

    I have this book in my head, and I have the major scenes written out. Plot points , characters, story arc. But I don’t know how to get from one scene to the next. I’ve been doing a lot of reading of novels, noting where they transition between scenes, where and how they introduce motivation. Dialogue interests me, more than a character’s internal thinking. So I’ve been pondering how to flesh out those transitions, but not actually writing them! I’ve written a ton of short stories, but this story wants to be a novel. I don’t have experience in that,… Read more »

    Amanda
    Guest
    Amanda

    The technical stuff has been like: Here’s my hypothesis, here’s how I tested my hypothesis, Step A, step B, etc., and here are my results, and a conclusion. I don’t put my zillions of thoughts and ponderings and motivations and sidetracks and mistakes into my technical writing.

    So, maybe that’s what I’m missing? Those thoughts and mistakes and side tracks?

    david lemke
    Guest
    david lemke

    You can’t have a story without a goal or conflict, even if the main character,(the hero) doesn’t know what his goal is and even if all the conflict is internal. Learn your characters really well and their relationships and that will give you some direction. What is my character’s goal and what is his first step,even if it’s backwards and why? Who or what opposes or interferes, and why? Write your first chapter as a short story? (To get you started) Does you hero have enough legs to carry a novel? For the first draft, don’t try to be perfect… Read more »

    frances hill
    Guest
    frances hill

    I have attended several ‘Writer’s Retreats’ and conferences which have helped tremendously. Check your area for when these are presented. Also “Writer’s Digest’ has some classes offered on line.

    KevinW
    Guest
    KevinW

    What’s the saying…something to the effect of “Everyone contains 3 people, the one you present to the public, the one you present to your close circle, and the one that you never show to anyone”…like David Lemke said, get to know your characters…you can always have one show a side of themself that wasn’t expected…boom, instant conflict…just ask anyone who’s ever been in a long-term relationship…

    david lemke
    Guest
    david lemke

    I just had a character do something expected; he slammed the binoculars down on a rock. He was shocked at his action and so was I, but it opened a doorway to why. Before that it was a boring waiting scene.

    SusanH
    Guest
    SusanH

    Boom, instant conflict. I am going to remember that.

    KevinW
    Guest
    KevinW

    Is that a good thing or a bad thing to remember, SusanH?

    Susan
    Guest
    Susan

    It is a good thing, KevinW, if it is referring to revitalizing a character, but a bad thing if we are talking about incendiaries or big red balloons.

    Eleanor
    Guest
    Eleanor

    You were successful with short stories? I suggest viewing the scenes as short stories, even vignettes. Or, begin to write like a report to get the ‘bones’ out of your thinking. Add the story ’embellishments’ afterwards.

    SusanH
    Guest
    SusanH

    I feel like I went through that and got past it by 1) picking a willing victim (my same blessed sister who does my proofing), walked the length of the beach with her and told her the story beginning to end: This kid wakes up, and then this and then that, and oh, that’s because of this..on and on.. and then I went home and wrote it out that way like I was telling it to someone. That helped me get it out of my head. was less work than outlining, more free form, and I could see more easily… Read more »

    Tadd
    Guest
    Tadd

    Yay! I didn’t pass on the ‘quit out of the blue’ virus. :D Glad to hear you’re back at it!
    Unfortunately, it seems my problem is my stupid willfulness. When I start something (basically anything!) I can’t stop til I finish. So I’m staring at this half filled page trying to ‘finish’ it, even though I know darn well I could just put a {the hero does something clever} note and move to the next….

    Hans De Leo
    Guest
    Hans De Leo

    What’s my biggest writing obstacle? My day job. Oh for the day when I can set my own schedule and spend half the day writing. I’d have a lot of books out already if I could do that.
    Oh well, until that day comes, I do what I can.

    Elizabeth
    Guest
    Elizabeth

    Hans, I once thought the same way, oh give me time and I will do great things. However, once I had plenty of time I found myself doing everything except writing. Then my husband retired. There went the writing. I did more writing when I was home with my kids. I would write at least several days from when they left for school until they came home. That’s when I really got things done. If you had all the time in the world you would still have to discipline yourself to use your time wisely.

    Hans De Leo
    Guest
    Hans De Leo

    Elisabeth;
    I hear you. Yes, there is a lot of other things to do, and writing does take a certain amount of discipline. However, I can tell you that during two periods of unemployment, I did a lot of writing. My wife would complain about how much time I spent on the computer. I also got a lot of other things done, which was nice. But alas, I had to find other work and actually bring money into the house.
    I am seriously looking forward to retirement.

    SusanH
    Guest
    SusanH

    Yes, that’s so true, David. Know thyself. I am one of those that needs big chunks of time spread out ahead of me or I feel like time is pressing down on my head and I get a headache. I like to write expansively.

    Eleanor
    Guest
    Eleanor

    Do you have any breaks in your day? I’m thinking of the advice I’ve often seen of carrying a small notebook to write in whenever you get an idea. Even when you’ve had to pocket your novel in the back of your mind, it’s squirming with thoughts about what this or that character could be doing in that scene or this situation. Writing in that notebook could eleviate that longing probably distracting you during your day job . Good luck.

    Elizabeth
    Guest
    Elizabeth

    My biggest obstacle is not having access to the computer as much as I used to. I share one with my husband and so I can’t use it when I want. That plus when he retired he wants to go here and there, and of course he wants me to go with him. I have to set a schedule when I will have the computer and the time and then stick to it. Any suggestions?

    Raymundo
    Guest

    The word for my no. 1 obstacle to my writing goals: overwhelmed. I could talk about trying to do too much, writing-wise, and that is an issue. But my main writing goal is completing my novel and the size of that task, especially trying to it with quality, is overwhelming. Even when I’m pleased with a small part, like a scene, I see so many other parts that surely don’t hold as well. And it seems I’ll never finish. I know this obstacle is common to most all writers, especially first-time novelists. There must be some issues of perfectionism and… Read more »

    Patricia
    Guest
    Patricia

    I have no difficulty choosing what to write. I even like to edit my work. I write non-fiction/personal essay/memoir. My obstacle is not knowing what to do with all these files-particularly those I have edited multiple times and feel ready to share. When I imagine sitting at the keyboard again I am overwhelmed with self-doubt questioning if there is any point to this process I love so much. Any distraction becomes more important than writing.

    SusanH
    Guest
    SusanH

    For me, right now, I think it’s cognitive dissonance–too much difference between the inner world and the outer world. (I will not say the “real” world in place of outer world, because both are real.) I have a world inside that wants to be put into intelligible form, and then I am immersed in this other world where I don’t understand any of it and none of it makes sense, but I have figured out how to get along it in. Related to that, it’s the feeling right now that writing is supposed to be my main job, but it… Read more »

    Mike
    Guest
    Mike

    Procrastination, plain and simple. I’m trying not to judge myself too harshly, but I can’t help but feel disappointed in my lack of discipline. It’s really frustrating to *want* so much to write, and yet not have the wherewithal to actually sit down and do it.

    Susan
    Guest
    Susan

    What do you want to write?




    Latest Tweets