My Top Three Challenges As A Writer (A Response)
Couple weeks ago, I found a question in my inbox. It was from a writer who was seeking information on how to get back on track and continue working on her abandoned book-project. Based on my short experience as an author so far, I did my best to answer her question and I hope it was helpful. I also realize that this question might be on the minds on several other writers so I decided to share my response with whoever’s interested in reading it.
Lydia: I'm writing a book as well, but abandoned at the moment, because I don't know how to get through with it. I would like to know the challenges you faced and how u got through and finished your book.
Thanks for reaching out. I'm always happy to connect with writers.
I'm sorry to hear that your book is abandoned at the moment but I appreciate the fact that you're willing to seek information about the process. I have published three books and for each of those books, there were unique challenges. So, regardless of what stage you are in as an author, there will always be some sort of challenge. The important thing is to remain resilient by finding ways to overcome them and keeping your end goal in mind all through the process.
Since this is going to be your first book (I'm just assuming it’s your first so I apologize if I'm wrong about that), I will share my experience with my first book with you.
It took me five years to complete my first book. During that time, I was a student so most of my time was spent focusing on my studies. However, I tried to create a schedule that ensured I spent at least a couple hours a week researching and writing. I completed the book at least three times but each of those times, I didn't think it was good enough, so I scrapped it and started again. More so, I wasn't sure about how to market or publish it so I spent some time doing so research about that.
Essentially, my challenges were time, self-doubt and lack of information about the publishing industry. Here's how I dealt with them.
Time: I gave myself a strict goal/deadline and word count to complete the book's first draft. I also reduced the time I spent on things that weren't as important to me like the book was. Basically, I made the project my second 'job' outside of school. I dedicated an hour a day or 8 hours a week towards working on the book and during that time, I stayed away from distraction as much as possible so I could focus on the project for those few hours.
Solution: Give yourself a realistic deadline and create a writing schedule that you can actually stick with.
Self-doubt: I simply decided not to care. I didn't care if the book was perfect even by my personal standards. I just wanted to get it out and done with. I knew deep down that if I could actually just get it done and published, I would be encouraged to keep writing and to become a better writer. I also told myself that I have a lot of years to spend writing and I will become a better writer over time, so my first project doesn't have to be my best project. My mindset is that my best project is always my next project.
Solution: Accept the fact that you can only become a better writer by actually writing. Your first draft is always your worst draft.
Lack of Information: This is a big deal. A lot of authors struggle with this. I spent some time doing some research online and studying what other first-time authors were doing in terms of their marketing and awareness strategies. However, the thing that helped me the most was the fact that I actually spent some time in the industry. I was fortunate to get a job working with a publishing firm and in that role, I spent some time working with authors. My time at the firm helped me to understand how the industry works and the best marketing practices to employ when publishing a book. I was also able to make some strategic connections that helped prepare my book for publishing.
Solution: Connect with writers (published and unpublished) in your community. Attend events and conferences about writing. Enter writing competitions. Ask Google, literarily.
There you go. These were my challenges during the writing and publishing process of my first book but trust me, I am still navigating challenges today. The good news is there is always a way around them. So please, don't abandon your book. Abandoning it is the easy option. Whatever challenges you're facing can be mitigated. I mean it.
I look forward to hearing more about your book.