Writer's Problems

Problem #1

The first problem for a writer is the discomfort of starting. This is a problem shared with almost everyone on planet earth. All of us feel that slight discomfort just before starting the day's job. And if we don't have a boss breathing down our neck, we tend to let that discomfort guide us towards procrastination.

Solution #1

The solution to this problem is to just start. Of course, for writers it is hard to just start writing. A good way to start writing without writing is to read the last few pages that you wrote yesterday. Not only will you remove a few typos but you'll also get over the discomfort.

Problem #2

Once you start writing, the second problem comes in the form of an internal critic. An extremely rude and condescending critic that is hard to please.

The critic says, "What the hell are you writing? Look at it! It's shit! Who told you that you could write about this topic? You don't know anything about it."

And if you let this critic go on, he'll just get worse, "What are you doing with your life? Are you sure you want to be a writer? Do you think Stephen King writes this badly? Do you know how much work it's going to take to turn this pile of shit into something good?"

Solution #2

The solution to this problem is to stand next to your bed, or couch, and start verbalizing the critic's words. Try to channel the critic in your body. Feel his hatred towards yourself. And then, punch yourself in the face.

Once you regain consciousness, get up from the bed, or couch, and get back to writing. And that's time to face:

Problem #3

The next problem is distraction.

Just when you've solved the first two problems, someone knocks on the door. Or you get a phone call. Or the house is on fire. Or there's an earthquake. Or someone's tweeted a link to a 20 minute Last Week Tonight with John Oliver video. Or your kids are hungry. Or your dog has to poop, or has already pooped on the carpet.

The list of things that can distract a writer is so long that it can be used to cover the entire earth, 7 times over!

Small distractions are not so bad in themselves but they can add up. And once you've lost focus, you are back to square one. When you get back to writing you'll have to face the first problem again. You'll have to punch yourself in the face again. And just when you write one good paragraph, there will be a distraction again.

Solution #3

Unknown.

That's the life of a writer. These, of course, are just the short-term problems faced on a daily basis by a writer. There are other problems, much more serious, in the long term. More about the long-term problems at some other time.

Writers continue to write, despite all these problems, for those few precious moments when their characters come to life and talk to them, telling them how the story unfolds. Writer's are a lonely bunch.

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