Writing isn’t always done with a steadfast resolve; often times people have to struggle through a mental block or multitudes of self-doubt to create something they deem meaningful enough to share with the world. For this blog, I’m going to take a look at some of the biggest uncertainties writers have that may keep them from releasing their work for people around the world to enjoy, as well as some words of wisdom for those that encounter these uncertainties.
Let me know in the comments below if I missed one, as well as what your thoughts are about these uncertainties and how to handle them!
– No One Will Ever Read This Anyway –
You may find yourself one day looking at your outline, first draft, second draft, or even the final draft of a piece you’ve put your heart and soul into only to realized that even though you’ve spent all of your time and energy on it, there’s the very real posibility no one will ever read it. There’s no way to force anyone to read anything they don’t want to, and if what you’re writing doesn’t interest a person they have no obligation to give it a chance. This realization can crush a creative soul’s spirit, and has likely been the cause of many projects being chucked into the bin and forgotten about forever.
Do not give up on your writing because you think it will never be seen by another person. Use that fear as fuel to help you finish the project if needed – if no one will ever see it, then why care if it doesn’t fit into the normal mold of writing? Write freely knowing that your work is untainted by societal views and opinions. And, should you feel that you do want others to view your work, there are plenty of ways to make your voice heard with modern day technology and social media. Programs like Amazon’s KDP for self-publishing allow writers the opportunity to give away their work for free so that others can discover them. You can also post your work to sites like Wattpad, Inkitt, Alter Stories, and Swoon Reads when first trying to get a bit of traction for your writing. In due time, you’ll find that there’s always at least one person out there who will read your writing.
– I’m Not a Good Enough Writer –
You might have this thought at the beginning of your writing journey while you were working through your first project or even after you’ve completed a piece of work. Writers may be discouraged from ever starting their writing journey because they feel that they’re not worthy to produce content for people to enjoy. Maybe you don’t know all the grammar rules by heart, and maybe you just don’t think you’re all that great at describing scenes with words despite the fact that you can see them so clearly in your head. Regardless, you’ve told yourself that your writing will never impress anyone, and that you should likely just give up before you embarrass yourself.
No one is perfect, and no one’s writing is loved by everyone. Don’t let the thought of instant failure keep you from trying your best. If J.K. had listened to the 12 publishers who told her that her writing wasn’t good enough, we never would have had her magical world – though it’s become more of a universe at this point – to explore. Don’t let your own self-doubt get in the way of producing your work. It’s not easy to put yourself and your writing out into the world when you don’t know how it will be perceived, but it’s a necessary step that all writers must take. Just as you may have certain writers or series that you don’t care to read, you’ll never be everyone’s cup of tea; and that’s okay.
– This is Taking Too Long –
You’ve been at it for weeks, months, maybe even years. It’s taken all of your strength just to sit down and write a few words before your mind clouds over and you have to decide what direction your story will take. Maybe you’re still mulling over whether or not that one character should die, if a good guy turns bad, of if the story turns out to have a happy ending after all. Regardless, you’ve felt like you’ve been struggling through the writing and that it’s just never going to end. Why continue trying to do something you don’t see an end to? What’s the point?
Writing isn’t a homework assignment – there is no due date unless you make one or you’re contractually obligated. Some writers take years to make a single novel, while others can write one in a fraction of that time. No matter how long it takes you, rushing creativity is generally very difficult to do, and doesn’t always yield the best results. Instead of worrying about the time you’ve spent, think about how great it will feel when you’ve finished your writing. How great will that sense of accomplishment feel when you’re staring down at the final project, knowing that you completed what you set out to do?
Disclaimer: If the thought of scraping the entire project gives you a greater sense of relief than your sense of pride or accomplishment for that work, it’s okay to scrap the idea and start over. You could also take elements from such a project and put them into a new one so that your idea can live on, but in a better form than its original one. It’s okay to start over, no matter how long you’ve been working on a project. Don’t let the sunk cost effect stand in the way of your writing.
– This Will Never Make Money –
You’ve given it everything you’ve got to create a piece of work you know the masses will surely take to. It’s got everything you believe a good story needs to pull in readers and change their lives. It’s revolutionary, it’s amazing, it’s exciting – but you’re not sure anyone will pay money to read it. Sure, it might get a fair amount of views if you posted it for free on a writing platform. But to have people pay money to read your works? Never in a million years. Don’t quit your day job, because you won’t make a cent off of your work.
If you read that and thought to yourself, “Wow, that’s right… I’ll never make any money doing this… What’s the point?” then perhaps you’re not writing for the right reason. Sure, it’s every writer’s dream to have their work discovered and turned into a multi-million dollar deal that will set them up for life, but it’s not so simple to live off of your writing – that is, unless you’ve put in the time, effort, dedication, and work. It takes more than just wishes, hopes, kind words, and support for writers to monetize their work, and unless you’re willing to take the steps necessary to see any kind of profit, you likely won’t be able to turn your writing into a full-time career. That’s not to say that it’s impossible to do so; just know that it’s no cake-walk. Very few things are freely handed to a writer during their writing journey, and cash is often not one of them.
– I Don’t Know How to End This –
Your story has perfect characters, perfect setting, perfect plot, perfect opening, perfect middle, but no end. It’s a conundrum many writers are faced with when trying to flesh out their ideas. You know exactly what the stakes are for your characters and what they’ll have to get through in order to find what it is their looking for, but how do you tie it all together? How do you end something you’ve poured your heart into in a way that does your work justice? Is a happy ending too pedestrian? Is a horrible ending too upsetting and unfulfilling? How in the world does anyone bring their stories to an end?
The answer here is often a hard one to accept: go with what you feel. If a reader doesn’t like your ending, it’s alright. If a reader loves your ending, great! Many people can love a piece of work and not be satisfied with the ending – writers included. Many have often thought that things should have gone another way, and that’s part of the fun in storytelling. Though it’s ultimately left up to the writer to determine how their work ends, by providing comments and feedback there can be a more meaningful engagement between writer and reader. With input from their audience, a writer might even get ideas and inspiration for their next work! Don’t take criticism as a negative; if anything it means that the reader is so invested and interested in your work that they can’t stop thinking about it! One thing’s for certain: you can’t please everyone with your ending, and trying to do so will surely set you up for disappointment.
– I Don’t Know If Anyone Will Like What I’ve Written –
You may look at your work and think to yourself, “Why would anyone want to read this? What if no one cares? What if it doesn’t interest anyone enough for them to pick it up and give my writing a go? What if they do take that chance and realize that it’s horrible, trivial writing and they think I’m just a terrible writer?” It’s easy to look at a piece of your writing and criticize yourself for not making it more important, relevant, or thought-provoking. Does anyone really want to read a story of a toy that’s trying to find its way back to the toy store? Does anyone care? How is it going to impact and improve someone’s life by reading it? What if they read it and hate it because it’s not what they wanted? Why did you even write it in the first place?
Although there are times when writers write to better the world, one of the greatest motivations for writing is your own thoughts, dreams, and desires. Write for you, and only you, if that’s what makes you happy! If you feel that your writing isn’t as high-stakes or, dare I type it, important enough to be put out into the world, you will never produce anything. What’s important or special to one person may be trivial to another. What makes one person happy to read may be of little interest to another. You can’t make everyone happy, but those that you can deserve to have their lives bettered by your work. We often forget that every single thing a writer produces doesn’t have to be groundbreaking work that changes a generation – so long as you can make one person feel something by taking in your writing, you’ve done a great job.
Please, please, please, never forget that!