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Writing Challenges

Cheryl's Musings: Writing Challenges

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Writing Challenges

Writing is always rewarding; but often, being a writer is hard. Today's top five writing challenges:

  1. Time

  2. Money

  3. Balancing long-term (ultimately more rewarding) projects with short-term (read faster-paying) projects

  4. Distractions from other life stuff

  5. Lack of regular feedback on how I'm doing

I'd like to write a list of my top five solutions--but that makes it all sound too simple. There aren't exactly solutions, but I have found strategies I can use to keep putting myself back on track. Maybe you'll find them encouraging, too:

  1. Promise myself that I'll value my writing time. I set a "work schedule" and stick to it--I have to, or I'll fritter away my morning doing laundry and picking up dirty dishes. I love working at home, where I can write with a dog curled up on either side of me, but I have to start each day by steeling myself against distractions.

  2. Sometimes I forget that I've chosen this life and chosen my priorities. Blame it on our consumer culture or on human nature--but I find myself wishing for more cash to buy this or do that--and then dissatisfaction sets it. Another promise to self: when I'm evaluating money, include the priceless treasure of being able to write four or more hours every single day. I'd give up a lot of gadgets and soy chai lattes for that!

  3. This is another money-related one. As a freelance writer, I have to choose between projects that further my career long-term, but don't do much for my bank account in the short term; and projects that bring in some cash for the short-term, but don't provide much fulfillment or career advancement in the long term. It's hard to find a balance between the two. Promise to self: set a limit on how much time I spend hunting for short-term freelance projects, so that it doesn't eat up all my time for long-term children's writing.

  4. Hmm. Guess this is time, too, but it's a little more complicated. Even when I schedule time to write, sometimes it's hard to get started because my mind is whirring with other worries, to-do lists, and such. Promise to self: begin my writing time with a mind-settling practice, such as yoga, meditation, or even Eric Maisel's recommended deep breathing and self-talk: "I am stopping. I am entering the work." It's hard for me to take time for these things, because they feel like they're stealing from writing time; but I think they make the remaining time more productive.

  5. I'm still working on this one. Writers spend so much of their time working in isolation. That's actually one of the things I love about being a writer--I thrive on that alone time--but even I need occasional affirmations that I'm doing a good job. Maybe I can get a writing support group started. Something like a critique group, except focused more on supplying writers with regular contact with each other. This one, though, I have to think about!

I'll let you know how it all goes!


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