Poll: Your Biggest Writing Obstacles 14 comments


Beham, (Hans) Sebald (1500-1550): Hercules slaying the Hydra, Engraving, 1545 (B.102, P.100 iv/iv) from The Labours of Hercules (1542-1548). Final state.

Hercules Slaying the Hydra from The Labours of Hercules (1542-1548) by Hans Sebald Beham

I want to know what’s going on with you and your writing, so I have put together a short survey to ask about the biggest challenges right now between you and the writing you want to do (i.e., the creative act of writing, not the business of writing–that’s a whole other conversation). I’ve drawn the options from conversations with writer friends and aspiring writers about what holds them back. You’re welcome to expand on your answer in the comments.

What’s your biggest challenge today, right now, this second? Click To Tweet

Why am I asking? First of all, because I care–but then, if you know me, you know that already. Secondly, because if I know what kind of writing information will help you most, that’s what I’ll make a priority to write about. I realize the focus of this particular survey is somewhat narrow, but don’t worry–I’ll be soliciting your feedback on a regular basis on all kinds of topics.

If your biggest challenge is not included in the options please add it in the comments if you feel comfortable to do so. I’m planning to run surveys like this from time to time to check in with you, and I’ll use your input this time to refine future surveys.

Please don’t feel like you need to give a “definitive” answer: the answer-of-the-moment is just fine. What’s your biggest challenge today, right now, this second? That’s all we need to know.

The thing about writing challenges is that we're all in this together. Click To Tweet

My personal experience with my own writing, and with talking with writing friends too, is that these kinds of writing challenges are A) possible to address, B) easier to tackle when you know how, and C) faced in some way at some point by almost all writers (at least those who are honest about it).  In other words, we’re all in this together.

Thanks for sharing.


14 thoughts on “Poll: Your Biggest Writing Obstacles

  • Norman Szabo

    It’s hard to write in a vacuum. There’s nobody out there clamoring to read my stuff, let alone produce it.

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      That’s a good addition, Norman. “Toiling in obscurity” is definitely its own challenge. I’ll get a dedicated discussion going on that for sure.

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      I know all about you and your shiny object syndrome, madam. And getting stuck, too. Don’t worry: lots of good resources coming up about both of those.

  • markwalker_uk

    I went for confidence as that seems to be the biggest kicker for me at the moment and it comes in waves. Some days I am in love with my ideas and my writing and others… well I just can’t seem to get beyond the thought that I am a fraud and nothing I am doing is any good.

    The fact that it goes in waves is a good thing I guess as peaks and troughs are good for the soul – nobody wants to be down all the time and being up all the time fosters arrogance and misplaced confidence – but it does create an internal battle with myself that some days has me leaping out of bed at 5:30am to write and, other days, rolling over and pulling the duvet back over my head.

    I think what I have to do is face my fears – head on! So, although I have made the same resolution in the past, 2015 will HAVE to be the year I start trying to get myself “out there” and get a real insight into my ability and whether I should (or even can) carry on with writing.

    Sorry that sounds like a bit of a sob story, but that is what is “getting” at me at the moment. It will probably be something else next month!

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      Mark, you’re certainly not alone in feeling that way. And you’re correct that this might be the obstacle-of-the-moment but these things do change and cycle.

      I’ve read your work and I know how well you write so I hope that rather than going into 2015 looking for an external verdict on your writing, you might instead consider looking for insights into what step you should take next.

  • markwalker_uk

    HA! Great to be back chatting and discussing writing with you Shaula!

    I think I was more thinking about the next step rather than just seeking external validation. I need to start getting my work out there. I want to be a professional writer, and the only way I can do that is by going out there and showing what I can do. Spielberg isn’t going to drop me a DM on Twitter out of the blue just because I think I have written a good scene – I need to grab the bull by the horns.

    If I do that and the validation comes with it then great! I can capitalise on that affirmation and move on to the next stage of my writing down that avenue. If not, then I need to head in a different direction, but using the new knowledge I gain to my best advantage.

    Either way, I need to have the confidence to step out of the comfort of my living room and start putting my money where my mouth is!

  • Steve Gregg

    My obstacle is the one I’m most likely to opine about; I’m hoping to fix myself by teaching others. Just get the damn first draft down. That’s so hard for me. Every word of a first draft feels like shutting a thousand doors.

    • Shaula Evans

      We are kindred spirits on that particular quest. And yes, I think of first drafts in terms of door metaphors, too: at the start of a draft, the thought of losing any of those opportunities can be paralyzing. But then, as I build up some momentum, I reach a point where I can see how getting words on the page and making specific story choices starts to open doors, too–and that’s when the writing starts to be really fun.

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      I hear you, Greg. Many writers struggle to find *enough* time to write.

      I’ve got some good stuff somewhere in my files on writing efficiently / stealing time to write / making the most of short writing bursts. I’ll put them up for you when I can put my hands on them.

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