Indie Author Weekly

080: 5 reasons why you're struggling with writing (and how to fix it)

October 06, 2020 Sagan Morrow Episode 81
Indie Author Weekly
080: 5 reasons why you're struggling with writing (and how to fix it)
Chapters
Indie Author Weekly
080: 5 reasons why you're struggling with writing (and how to fix it)
Oct 06, 2020 Episode 81
Sagan Morrow

Today's episode of Indie Author Weekly shares 5 possible reasons for why you’re struggling with writing… plus how to fix each of those problems! As we go through these, we’ll see that many of them interconnect together, so you might find that a few of these resonate with you...  

TUNE IN to this episode to find out how to solve the problems and reasons for why you're struggling to write your novel. 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Today's episode of Indie Author Weekly shares 5 possible reasons for why you’re struggling with writing… plus how to fix each of those problems! As we go through these, we’ll see that many of them interconnect together, so you might find that a few of these resonate with you...  

TUNE IN to this episode to find out how to solve the problems and reasons for why you're struggling to write your novel. 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello friends! Sagan here. Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romantic comedies, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I was to share with you 5 possible reasons for why you’re struggling with writing… plus how to fix each of those problems. As we go through these, we’ll see that many of them interconnect together, so you might find that a few of these resonate with you...

Reason #1 why you’re struggling with writing: Distraction & lack of focus. 

You’re really distracted with lots of other things in your life that are competing for your attention—this can include mental distractions, where you’re trying to keep track of too many things in your head all at once, as well as physical distractions, such as a messy workspace.

As a result of all of this, you’re having a hard time focusing. Lack of focus translates into lack of discipline. 

The fix: Refine your focus.

When you’re having trouble focusing and when you’re distracted, you need a productivity check! As a productivity strategist, I work with people of all backgrounds and experiences to help you manage your time better and increase your creativity levels. The best way to do this is through my signature program, Productivity Powerhouse. You can join right now at SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse — I’ll drop the link in the shownotes. 

Reason #2 why you’re struggling with writing: Insecurity & self-doubt

You might find it difficult to write at this time because you’re experiencing insecurity and self-doubt about your work. You’re wondering if maybe you aren’t good enough to keep going, or you’re worrying about what other people are going to think about your work.

This one often masks itself as “perfectionism,” so you’re beating yourself up that your writing isn’t exactly what you want it to be with that first draft, or you might find that you’re postponing writing until the perfect idea presents itself. That isn’t a good thing. Stop taking pride in your perfectionism! It’s holding you back from achieving your goals. 

Another issue, which fits under this category and also relates to the first reason on this list, is that you aren’t trusting yourself enough to figure things out as your story unfolds. 

The fix: Leave that for your Future Self to deal with! 

Getting your book exactly the way you want it is NOT your job at this stage. Your job at this point is to get the words on paper and tell the story. You can improve it later. Sometimes, giving yourself a pep talk and reminding yourself that the ONLY thing that matters right now is that you write, can make a big difference. 

I am a huge fan of differentiating my Present Self from my Future Self. For example, I’m currently writing the first draft of my next romcom, Small Town Stilettos, and every time I find myself getting sidetracked because a particular scene is kind of messy, I just remind myself that it’s something that Future Sagan gets to deal with, during one of the rewrites and edits in the coming weeks. Trust that your Future Self is more than capable of dealing with it at that stage.

By the way, if you’re curious to learn more about Small Town Stilettos, you can search for it on GoodReads and I’ll also drop the link in the show notes.

Reason #3 why you’re struggling with writing: Boredom.

You might find it difficult to write at this time because what you’re writing is kind of boring. I have totally had this happen before—I expected a scene would go in a different direction or that a story would take a different route, but I was struggling to work on it… and then I realized it was because I was boring myself. I wasn’t interested in what the characters were doing or saying or thinking. 

The fix: Take a step back and assess whether this scene is necessary to include, or if you can shorten it, for example.

What would happen to this story if you didn’t include this scene that you aren’t even having fun with? Or, can this scene happen “off stage,” so that you just mention that it happens in your novel, without getting into all of the details? There’s nothing quite so satisfying as reducing a mediocre scene into a single sentence and continuing on with “the good bits” of your story.

Remember: if you’re bored when you’re writing, then your readers will be bored when they’re reading.

Reason #4 why you’re struggling with writing: Lack of research. 

You might find it difficult to write at this time because you haven’t done your research. If you don’t have enough background in a particular thing that you’re writing about, that’s going to make writing a whole lot trickier! 

The fix: Make a point of setting aside the time to learn more about your subject matter and get more comfortable with it.

If it’s an important part of the story, then you’ll feel a lot better if you have confidence in your comprehension of that subject. 

Reason #5 why you’re struggling with writing: Overwhelm & feeling lost.

You don’t know how to start your book, perhaps (in which case, check out Episode 79 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast—it has tips and writing prompts for getting started with your novel!). Or you just feel like this project is so unwieldy, how are you ever going to make progress?

The fix: Create a strategic action plan for yourself.

Rather than thinking about a 50,000-word novel, focus on writing 500 - 1,000 words/today for the next couple months, for example. Or, if you don’t know what scene to write, then do some mindmapping or create a chapter outline to brainstorm ideas and give yourself direction. Tune into Episode 44 to learn how to use mindmapping to organize your book. 

Now, I mentioned Productivity Powerhouse earlier in today’s episode, and if you feel overwhelmed or a little lost with how to move forward with your project, then you 100% need Productivity Powerhouse in your life. It teaches you how to create strategic action plans and break down big projects into manageable, bite-sized tasks. Get all of that at SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse

To recap, 5 reasons why you might be struggling with your writing include… 

  1. Distraction & lack of focus 
  2. Insecurity & self-doubt
  3. Boredom
  4. Lack of research 
  5. Overwhelm & feeling lost

I want to wrap up today’s episode by making another important note here, which is this: at some point during the book writing process, you’re going to have a moment when you’ll want to throw in the towel. You will sit down to write, and you’ll look at the last scene you wrote or the idea you had for what to write next, and you’ll be overcome with a sense of despair. You’ll think that this book requires so much more work and so much rewriting and editing and effort in general, that it’s just not worth it to keep moving forward. 

This will happen. It’s almost guaranteed that you will have a moment like this. And when that happens, the most vital thing for you to do is to keep going. Keep writing. Because it IS worth it to finish writing your book, even if it doesn’t seem like it in that moment. I have had that thought during every single book I’ve ever written. I know that it is so tempting to just stop then and there, and call it quits on the whole project. To start anew with a different book idea. 

Don’t do that! That is the exact reason why it took me such a long time to actually finish a book and get published—I wrote books for years before I finally took the leap to write and finish one to satisfaction. I have so many half-finished manuscripts from years ago, and it’s pretty much all because I gave in to that moment of struggle. 

I know that writing can be hard. I know that writing can be a struggle. But please, please, please—keep writing. Finish the damn book. The world needs your stories.

Now, I would love to hear your thoughts on this: have you experienced these struggles with writing? Are the fixes that I mentioned here effective for you? Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram, @Saganlives, to chat about it! And you can send me a message on either of those platforms if you have requests for future episode topics, too. The more you tell me what you’d like to see more of on this podcast, the better that I can accommodate that. You can also submit your questions or topic ideas anonymously at SaganMorrow.com/question

If you enjoyed this episode, please take 2 minutes to share this podcast on social media and subscribe and rate it on Apple Podcasts—any time you share it or leave a rating or review, it helps more listeners find the Indie Author Weekly podcast, so every bit counts! I really appreciate your support.

By the way, you can access complete word-for-word transcripts of this episode and all past episodes, plus sample chapters of my romantic comedies and a few other bonuses and goodies, on the “secret” version of this podcast. Get access to all of that at SaganMorrow.com/secretpodcast.

Thanks so much for tuning in to the Indie Author Weekly podcast, and I will see you in the next episode.