I still remember when I gave up writing 2 years ago; which was largely due to the setbacks I had to go through then (literally everyday) all because of the diverse kind of challenges that came with writing. I still vividly remember struggling to hold on, but like I said, that didn’t work out.I gave up.
So, for up to 2 years, I was literally in the dark side of writing.
I was afraid that if I ever lifted up my hands on any computer keypad again – I might end up with those challenges and give up again.
Awhile later (2 years to be precise); after rethinking the whole idea of going back to my first love, and been armed with a renewed perspective from other writers’ blogs which I read during those period – I plunged into writing; this time, with zeal to conquer any freaking hard challenges that I came face to face with.
Of course, it took hard work from my part to stay afloat and not drown under the high level of writers block and other factors which tried their best to quench my staying power; but still I persisted with my zeal to continue writing . . . and it later paid off.
So humbly, I’d like to say that it has been a wonderful 1 year surpassing one writing challenges to the other after a long time of being afraid of writing.
Nevertheless, to cut the long story short in other not to bore you to death with my story . . . I wrote this post up for those writers who are still struggling with the numerous challenges I passed through then. I just hope you grasp something tangibly important from reading this post with an open mind. This post contains virtually all the problems you can have as a writer and how you can overcome each and every one of them.
Below are the main writers’ problems and their solutions –
- Writers Block
An inability on the part of a writer to start a new piece of writing or continue an existing one – That’s the name of that problem you have when you find it hard to produce new work or complete that article or book.
Believe me; it happens to everyone, including famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald and pop culture cartoonist Charles M. Schulz (this ones were top writers in their time).
Even me, since I couldn’t start this article properly; I had to shift it to the next day because I wasn’t just feeling my muse any longer. It was like I just had my brain fried -if you know what I mean.
Anyway, what exactly causes writer’s block in the first place?
Is it stress? Physical illness? Depression? The end of a relationship? Financial pressures or a sense of failure?
Yup – all this are some of the main causes of writers block.
But let me show you the 2 main types of writers block that are presently killing people (like you and me) and how you can possibly come out of those type of writers block (I’ll write up a guide on writers block later, which contains all the types of writers block and how you can overcome them).
2. Types of Writers block
- You just can’t come up with an idea.
You just sit there with your hands on the keypad and your eyes blankly staring at that computer screen with no idea popping out of you.
You keep trying and trying, but it just seems like your brain momentarily went blank all of a sudden.
Well, the truth is, you’re not alone on this one. It happens to every writer.
When ideas aren’t just forthcoming – this is what I usually do:
*I Listen to SimplyNoise. It’s basically an online app which plays the sound of rain. As you all might have noticed, some people tend to relax more and stay more focused to the goal at hand when it is raining. And I’m one of them.
While listening, I rest comfortably on my chair (eyes shut) and just put my mind on the writing and gradually the ideas will start coming. You should give it a try, it always works for me.
* I Shut My Computer And Go Out For Fresh Air. I do this in extreme cases when ideas have sworn not to come. Sometimes, that’s what our body needs at that particular point in time. Shutting off my computer helps me gaze at other things (like nature) which I know can help me propel ideas back to my old tired brain.
* I Talk The Heck Out Of My Audio Recorder. I’ve tried this before during writing, and I know it’s the best ways to get ideas flowing. That day I was going to write up a tutorial on SEO (the basic of SEO) for my students. But no matter how hard I tried writing, the ideas weren’t just coming out right. I kept hanging and hanging during writing, until I nearly gave up writing the piece.
So, I fired up my audio recorder and started talking and talking and talking about the SEO topic I was going to write about till ideas started shooting out of my brain.I noticed that the more I talked into the audio recorder, the more ideas I got. This, I kept doing until I ended up getting more and more ideas on what to write about. Then, I headed back to write the piece, and it automatically became quite easy to finish.
* I Take a Nap For Crying Out Loud. We writers tend to stay in front of our computer for quite a long time, and this leaves the body pretty tired and need to do another thing entirely different from just staring at a blank screen while pretending to literally type something. The truth is – ideas won’t come. Won’t it be better if I just shut that computer down and take a nap? Rest my precious brain and dream of you? (Just joking).
But I notice that after taking that short sleep, ideas seem to come out pretty easily more than before when I had to stare on that blank screen for ages.
* I Do Some Freaking Research. Like the old saying, “What you take in will determine the output you’d pour out”. This, I’ve come to understand, the more research you have and know about what you want to write about – the easier it is to write that piece of writing.
I finally understood the reason why I find it very hard to write some topics which I clearly know i can write up on. The reasons were largely due to negligence of research on my part. If you want to turn to a writing powerhouse, then you’d have to read (research) more than you write. Just imagine someone going to defend a master’s program without even preparing for what to say when he gets there – we all know how it’ll end.So – it’s pretty important to do research. We writers can’t live without it.
All this can work maximally for you if you can follow them religiously
2. You Just Came Up With an Idea – But you believe it’s Crap.
Yeah, we all know the spiral cycle that involves when this happens. A very good idea pops into our head from nowhere. Wow, we love the “idea”.
We begin writing and writing and unfortunately when this type of writers block sets in, it tells us that our unfinished work isn’t depicting our best expertise. And baam! We pick up our work and settle down to confirm. Minute later, we are at the start phase again with the same work.
Oh, you want to know what happened to the old work?
Well, it’s in the dustbin. And it’s lucky to be the 15th torn and squeezed paper which has recently being thrown into the trashcan today for being under-quality.
But why does this really happen? Is it that the writers in question (you and I) are writing below our form on that particular day, or the written work is overly perfect but we aren’t just seeing it that day? I strongly believe it’s hugely the latter.
When this type of writers block begins, we’d believe at that moment that anything we write up or draw up isn’t really representing our thoughts well and that the best option we have is to start all over again with that same idea. This of course begins the circular form just mentioned above till we give up wanting to write that particular piece out.
So how do we conquer this block?
* Believe That it’s The Best. Let’s get down to true fact here. Nobody can ever be perfect in writing. We are all human beings – and un-satiable too. I for example, on my own part, I’ll have to accept that writing as my best. One thing I look at during that moment is the value-quality which is inherent within the article I’m writing on.
If the article doesn’t add enough value from my own view, then it’s an article with low quality. With that being said, I’ve come to understand that the quality of an article does not lie in how smooth and ear-sweetening it sounds, but in how much value one can derive from reading it.
So instead of me throwing that write-up into the trashcan, I’ll first weigh the value in the writing, and then take action depending on much value it impacts.
* Stick With One Idea. That’s basically the best thing to do under that circumstance. Because any idea you write up might likely end up in the dustbin for being under-quality.
So sticking with the initial idea and making sure not to deviate from it, is quite the only way to overcome this block.
2. Getting Clients Who Will Actually Pay You
I remember when I first started out as a freelancer; I used to have this constant fear that I might never get a client who would pay me for my freelancing services. I kept having this fear until my first client contacted me.
That experience taught me one thing which I’d like to share with you all.
It taught me that –
Client will come when you’re doing the right thing. This is a no brainer. It’s just the real truth. When you are churning out quality contents and doing pretty well in SEO, then clients will surely locate you. It’s how well you market your writing that will determine how many clients will come knocking on your door.
When you guest post at a frequent rate and drop blog comments on numerous blogs, all this will help show your expertise, which will magnet clients to your way.
So, don’t fret that clients aren’t coming. Instead, do the right things at the right time and they will surely come your way.
Where to Find Clients-
Apart from knowing and doing the right thing, it’s also important to know where to find them if they’re taking too long to show up. Below are 4 ways to look and find clients-
* Through Your Blog. We all know that our blogs are the main way which we can use to attract paying clients in the first place. So, optimizing our blogs with lots of quality articles will help garner clients our way. The more quality contents we have on our blog the more clients we get.
* Through Direct Contact. There is no harm in contacting some top persons which you think might need your freelancing services. Don’t let shyness or fear stop you; open your notepad and write up names of people (mainly bloggers) who might need your freelancing services. Once you have come up with the list; send a very detailed message to each of them outlining your expertise and why you think they’ll need your services.
* Through Fellow Freelancer. Contacting fellow freelance friends you know to help you with clients also works fine. They may be inclined to lift the burden and hand you some of their clients for a discount. Or sometimes, they may have lots of clients on their hands that they wouldn’t mind outsourcing the work to other persons like their own friend (you).
Laziness doesn’t exist. It’s just a word we’ve given to explain away something deeper and messier that we’d prefer to ignore. Think of it as a symptom. It’s a sign that something else is going on beneath the surface. So if laziness doesn’t exist, what then are the cause for all that messy jobs and procrastinations? it’s YOU.
Yes it’s you. Laziness doesn’t exist, it’s the choices you make that brings about what the humans call “Laziness”, which simply means the inability to wanting to do any work or be involved with one.
This means that if you can narrowly scrutinize your choices and not procrastinate; especially the ones you make towards work; then you’d be more organized and always up to date with your daily assignments.
Having said that, it’s now in your hand to uphold those numerous choices you make everyday and make sure to overly accomplish each and everyone of them to the letter until they’re all done.
Don’t let anything stop you from working at that moment in time. If you have a book to write, write it. If you have an article to finish up, finish it. Just keep up with the time set for each of them.
Remember, “The choices you make today will definitely determine your altitude tomorrow.”
4. Having Money Problems
This isn’t just the problem of writers. It’s the world’s problem. Virtually everybody has gone through this phase before or is still in this phase. When you as writers are going through this particular problem – the one thing to take note of is this –
“What can you really do well that people will literally die for and pay any amount to get?”
Take your time and think particularly on this question. . .
There must surely be a thing you can really do well. Like me, I can write. Why not outsource my work to different online platforms which provide these services? If I were to go along with this idea – why not register on one of these online platforms below and make little side money from there?
Yeah, I know that earning $5 to $20 might be small for you, but remember that awesome quote that says, “Don’t forget the days of your humble beginnings.”
Start small, then more money will surely come.
Money problems are usually one of the main reasons, or should I with effrontery say – it’s the main reason why writers want to be “professional writers”. Everybody needs money. Everybody wants to be independent. So, it’s really a big deal on the internet.
Nonetheless, remember that for you to ever make money on the internet, you’d have to show people that they can benefit from paying you to do one particular thing for them.
Locate that thing which you can really do extremely well and outsource it to different online platforms which provide these services.
Remember – “you can never make money online except people can benefit from you. Show your expertise and money will come.”
5. Lack of Rest
I don’t think anything can replace rest. When something ends up trying to take the place of rest in your body – then breakdown is inevitable.
We writers tend to work very late at night in the name of writing to meet up with a self-imposed deadline or a client’s deadline. And while I’m not saying that it’s a bad idea – it should always be accompanied with plenty of rest.
Sleep plays a major role in thinking and writing. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. It damage attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn or write competently.
We should really try and shut down our computer sometimes, and really take a lengthy nap for nothing other than to protect our body from possible breakdown.
Remember: – you’re not writing to end up hurt, instead, you’re writing to improve yourself and the people around you.”
We writers have to understand that postponing any writing we’re currently on till another time doesn’t make the job finished and done. We’d sooner or later have to face reality and go back to that particular work with the aim of finishing it.
So why do we usually fall into procrastination?
I think, from my own point of view, it’s mainly because of not having a clear goal in view. When we begin to take our writing as a business (which we should), then procrastination won’t come between what you want to do and what your body wants to do.
Once we can successfully conquer what the body wants to do per time, then we will have succeeded in bringing procrastination at bay.
How do we conquer procrastination and subject the body to what we really want to do?
* By Setting Achievable Goals. When your every action is driven by goals, it becomes very easy to do things at the time you have set for them. I don’t really mean any kind of goals, but the type that can possibly be achieved by you at the time which you’ve set for it. I’ve had success with this type of goals. It’s basically like setting a target for a week, maybe a list of things which you really want to accomplish that week. After setting them, you go out of your way to overly accomplish them one by one before the week (the targeted time) runs out.
* By Breaking a Long Project into a Short Project. Thinking of the size and difficulty of a task before you will surely overwhelm you, and thus promote procrastination. Any task, no matter how intimidating it looks can be broken down into smaller ones.
Ignore the big picture for a while and just tackle that next small task. Make sure you can easily see the outcome of your small task. Take it bit by bit. write a book; write a page. Don’t write a page; write a paragraph. That way, you’d finish it in no time.
Remember: Keep the big picture (or workload) in mind, and of course, but don’t allow it to frighten you. Use it to drive yourself forward.
8. Poor Writing
That’s one of the core problems of writers. The only thing that separate writers from writers is the professionalism of the write up which they churn out every time.
To get your writing to top form, follow these bullet points below on corrections to mistakes which we normally do while writing-
Spelling inadequately. This is obviously one of the easiest challenges to triumph over. If you’re not a spelling bee champion, you can always use the tools at your disposal to learn how certain words are spelt. Virtually all word processing programs have a spell checker – so use it to your own advantage. There’s really no excuse for misspelled words.
* Using the wrong word. Sometimes this is as simple as mixing up easily confused words like affect/effect, principal/principle, they’re/there/their, it’s/its. Keep a cheat sheet of those word pairs or triplets that give you trouble and refer to it frequently. For a quick fix, look up the word in your word processor or on dictionary.com. Take the time to make sure the words you’re using are the words you mean to use at that point in time.
* Writing with the same word too often. Here’s a simple example: “I never knew that I had it, until I lost it, and I remained sad whenever I think of it.” The word “it” appears too much, and the writing is left flat. Replacing one of the “it” instances or rewriting totally removes the flatness and doesn’t call attention to the repetition. Go through your writing every so often and read carefully, looking for duplicate words.
* Involuntarily relying on word crutches. Everyone has his or her word crutches, words that just come out of the keyboard or pen all the time. My main word crutch is “when.” I want to start every paragraph with “when”; I think it helps with flow, but in reality, “when” makes my writing looks a little bit amateurish. Be aware of your crutch words and find other ways to do in your writing what you think those crutch words are doing.
* Using cheap words. Remove these words from your writing, and your writing will immediately be more polished and professional: really, just, so, nice, pretty, very, there is/are, that, which, who, try/tried to, sort of, kind of, I think, it seems.
* Not Proofread Perfectly. Nothing can take the place of proofreading. It helps you convey your writing to your audience in the manner they would totally understand. People usually feel comfortable when reading an article or book without typos than they do while reading one full of it.
Make sure to proofread your article or book at least 3 times. The first proofing should centre on words that weren’t spelt correctly (your own word processing writing pad will help you out those errors properly).
The second proofing should focus on the smoothness of your writing. You might want to read it out loud to locate and prune out some places which don’t just flow well.
And lastly, the third proofing will and should involve the reading of the piece to show places where more words need to be added.
* Lacking self confidence. Your writing skills may be good, but if you don’t have confidence in them, that lack will show through. Try and develop confidence with what you churn out everyday. It will help you see improvement from your side.
If you don’t develop self confidence – you’d never see improvement; all what you’d see is a write up that doesn’t really make any sense. And this can lead you to quit writing for something else. So read more personal development/motivational books to build up your self confidence even more.
* Not Writing Everyday. Stephen King, one of the most celebrated books writers of the 21st century once gave an answer to a question about how can one be very good in writing. He said, “If you want to be a good writer, then you must write at least 1,000 words every day”. And that’s just the fact. You can’t write today and rest tomorrow. If you really want to be a professional writer in the near future, then that’s the price you’ll have to pay.
Also, to chip in a little; try and keep a schedule which allows you to wake up early. This schedule will help you write even better (it’s quite true that early hours of the day is the best time to write). So, stick to this schedule and you’d have no cause to worry about.