What has been your biggest challenge?

After getting into a writing habit myself this past year I have met and interacted with many authors (a good number of them here) with a wide range of success, word count, and sanity. It has been an awesome journey for me. So, in the spirit of furthering these interactions, and to get a general feel for everybody's different take on writing, I would like to know what your greatest challenge in writing has been! Has it been finding an audience, getting words down onto a page, or like me do you just want the incessant chanting of the Demi-Moon to cease and once and for all shatter the veil of lies and deceit?


The Engrish. Seriously, there are days where I can't for the life of me string a sentence together and spend an hour agonizing over less 100 words. Any amount of progress is slow and painful.


I ENVY you people who can dish out an entire 8K word chapter in a day. SO MUCH.


Being able to actually do a continuous series. I've worked around this by doing the whole "mosaic" of different stories that share a setting, but I've always really struggled writing an actual series, whether it be a straight up serial or doing sequels. This despite most of my ideas until recently being series set ups.


Also, being consistently productive. My brain just doesn't seem wired for that. It's very frustrating.


@Chrysalis

I can relate to that, there are times that it is hard for me to get past a sentence without suspecting that I just had a stroke. What have you done to get past that?

You once said that you write 500-1000 words a day? I know that a lot who self publishers (especially the guys at Sterling and Stone) report word counts of 8k a day, which is something I wish I could do as well (right now I can only manage 2k a day) but that level of writing is INSANE. By any other standards I think you are considered to be a fast writer.


@Sharkerbob

Honestly that seems like a pretty creative work around to me. Is writing a serial like you have been doing satisfactory to you, or do you wish you could write a more traditional series?

What do you use to write? Scrivener has a good goal setting tool that has helped keep me honest.


@revfitz I'm not fast, I just put in quite a few hours for a relatively small wordcount. Other people can do 500 words in an hour, I need 2-3. And it's rare that I manage more than 500, though right now I kinda have to (deadline for the new book).


Same here- I shoot for a thousand a day, which is one chapter for me. But that chapter will take around 2-3 hours. If I'm "in the zone" I can go faster, but since this is a hobby I don't freak out too much about my rate. I'd rather it be enjoyable.


Coming up with too many ideas at once and restraining myself from having three serials running at one time...logically I know that the amount of work would kill me, even with the main one being a collab project, but the part of me with no impulse control REALLY wants to write everything at once.


Getting back into it. I posted a chapter in April 2017. Havent done anything since because of a looooooooooooooooootttttttt of stuff :( BUT HEY 2018 IS THE TURN AROUND LETS GO!


@Chrysalis

I hear you, but 500 words a day is 3 novels a year (or 6 novellas). Again, I realize that in the self publishing world that is small, but the majority of published writers can barely get a novel out a year. I think you are pretty prolific! :D

Also: good luck on the deadline!


@Leoduhvinci

Honestly that is a pretty good attitude to have, I guess the last thing that you want is for what you enjoy to become a grind.


@Marn

I got really excited about an idea that I had and decided to write it alongside my serial. So far I am happy with the results, but writing two series at once (plus a weekly horoscope parody) and working full time has been exhausting. I honestly can not say whether or not this was a mistake yet. Cloning myself or picking up a cocaine habit seem to be the ONLY rational solutions if I want to continue like this. So yeah, I too am bad at impulse control.


@Justinewenger4

Losing momentum SUCKS. I did not realize that you had stopped writing around the time I gave you my impressions, I was actually thinking about your serial just the other day, when do you plan on posting again? Good luck this year! :D


... I made the mistake of having a main character with depression and social anxiety for my latest novel.


Turns out, I get *faaar* too deep into the mentality of my characters when I write- like method acting, but with writing- and this does not go well with depression. So, yeah, my latest book has been a huge struggle on my part. I look forward to getting it done so that I can move on to something with characters whose mindsets I actually enjoy.


EDIT: Disregard this one. Somehow, it was double-posted on me.


@revfitz if we factor in edits and rewrites, it's more like 1 novel a year - tops. Plus my books tend to be fairly long, in ~100K words territory.


I've had readers tell me they wouldn't vote on TWF because unlike other authors, I only update once a week. The new serial will also consist of weekly updates because one single 4K word update takes around 20 hours if you factor in the edits. Which is insane. It's half a full time job!


I'm still fairly convinced everyone else can do it faster than me, but maybe it's all just in my head.


@revfitz


Thanks! I don't wanna set myself a date quite yet but my mental situation has gotten to a point where my drive and productivity is up so I hope things go well.


On the micro level, learning how to improve flow, infuse text with emotion, make characters that have believable emotions, and dialogue. On the macro level, constructing a plot. Creativity is very difficult for me (yeah I know, weird problem for an artist to have). I suspect there's also a lot that I'm doing wrong that I don't even know enough to recognize yet. But I'm getting better and people say they like what I write so... *shrugs*.


My audience is also tiny but I'm fine with that, I knew what I was getting into when I started.


It always feels like people forget rewrites, revisions and editing when discussing how much they write. I average around 500-700 words an hour, but when you factor in the rest of the work, it comes out around 100-150 (30-50 hours per 5k chapter).


As for what I've found the biggest challenge? Probably consistency, keeping track of character voice and development, juggling multiple conflicting perspectives, narrative undercurrents and subtext, pulling everything together as a cohesive whole. It's why I end up taking breaks, sometimes for extended periods, because I have to work on 40+ chapters a time. It can get overwhelming.


On the wordcount, I can crank out 1k in an hour. I've done it often, especially for shorts. but it seems like writing is like sprinting for me. I tell people Im like a cheetah. I can outrun most people. for about 30 feet, then im done. I can write 1k in an hour. but then the words just stop until tommorow. sigh.


@Dary have you ever considered working with a good developmental editor? I've found mine to be invaluable and couldn't imagine publishing a new novel or serial without her feedback. It really helps you save time with revisions. Instead of trying to track every little detail yourself, let the editor figure out necessary changes for you.


I'm glad I found someone who writes even more slowly than I do, though. <3


Like others have already mentioned, it's the challenge of staying consistent that I struggle with. There's nothing worse for me than getting my momentum going where I'm writing for several days straight, and then I lose two or three days in a row due to fluctuating real life circumstances. My goal, when I sit down to write is a thousand words a day, or a scene, and I can pump that out quickly once I push myself to get going. It's those annoying days off in between that throw me off. My favorite time to write is first thing in the morning, when I'm allowed to do that. But I work a full time job with rotating shifts and days off, so it's always challenging. My goal this year will be to try to write with more flexibility and ignore what I call the 'excuse mechanism' that tries to take over in my head and just start typing. I don't believe in writer's block, just writer's interference... lol.


@Chrysalis As much as something like that would help, I simply can't afford it: I don't earn a lot, and my budget is tight. I had a friend help out with copyediting early on, but she's overworked enough as it is these days.


@Archive

Do you have a method for constructing plot? Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?


@Dary

Totally! I was able to write 50,000+ words in a month, but I am still editing that draft two months later (and spending time each day to do it). I am currently having someone look over my draft as a trade for officiating their wedding, but like you I can't afford a developmental editor, nor do I have someone who can regularly look my stuff over, so I feel your pain.


@Scott Scherr

That sounds like a pretty good goal, good luck with it good sir! :D