11 Solutions to the Most Common Writing Problems

  1. I don’t have time to write. Solution: Write in 20 minute chunks, in the line at the grocery store, on your phone, at the doctor’s office. Be flexible.
  2. I’m terrified of staring at a blank page. Solution: Write what you’re scared of. Write what you hope for. Write the phone book, if you must. Get your fingers started and the fear will leave.
  3. I keep rewriting the same page over and over again. Solution: It’s not time to rewrite until you’re stuck and don’t know where else to take your characters. And then, it’s still not time to fiddle with words.
  4. It has to be perfect. Solution: Tell yourself over and over again, this is just for me, this is just an experiment, no one else will ever see this.
  5. I can’t possibly write a whole book. Solution: Eat the elephant 100 words at a time.
  6. My book feels too similar to other books in the genre. Solution: stop trying to write to the market. Use your own voice. You are unique. You have a book inside you no one else can write.
  7. Every time I sit down to write, I get distracted by other things. Solution: Turn off the internet and set a timer. You aren’t allowed to get up until it goes off.
  8. I have eleven different projects I’m working on at the same time. Solution: Pick one or at most two. Work until you get stuck, then brainstorm on how to get unstuck. Stop avoiding the hard part of writing.
  9. My teacher/parent/editor told me I’m not good enough to write. Solution:
  10. I’m too lazy to write a book. Solution: You aren’t lazy. You may be giving up, but if so, it’s because you’re scared and your brain is sabotaging you. Keep talking back to it, telling it that you can do this.
  11. I keep working on the same book over and over again and I can never seem to get it right. Solution: Stop working on a book you conceived of 5, 10, or 20 years ago.  You’re a better writer and a better human than you were then.
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