- First of all, our school systems do a poor job of teaching English. It basically makes people hate studying the language and how to write it better. Grammar? Bleh. How do you get past this? People still write, but it seems like most of those people do so because they can’t stop themselves. I wonder how many more people would be writing if they weren’t made to hate it in High School. When I decided to take it seriously, I had a lot of education to undertake. It spurred me to get a Master’s degree, simply to fill in the gaping potholes in my skillset. I still ended up taking an undergraduate class in grammar. I enjoyed it actually. No really.
- Even with more education in how to correctly put words in order, it is hard to do it in a way that is enticing. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for the last decade or so and I see people regurgitating words at a rate that is hard to fathom. Over 400,000 in a month. How? I can’t imagine that the prose is good. But maybe that doesn’t matter. The first draft often sucks, and that’s okay. Brilliant editing is the trick. In other words, writing is hard. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact.
- Selling your work seems harder than ever. I know that self-publishing is available. But even that creates its own challenges if you are going to do it right (that’s a post all in itself,) and actually be successful. The publishing industry has one thing in common with my time in the US Air Force, change is the only constant. The industry has been in great flux for decades. First came the consolidation of the companies, as they were bought up by huge conglomerates. The owners of the publishing companies are not so much people that love books, or writers, but they do love making money. They championed books that were like last season blockbuster because they wanted to play it safe. Then they woefully forecasted the future of their industry when the ebook took off. If they had done a better job evolving Amazon would not be in the position it is in now. Which leads to the next one . . .
- Writers are not treated very well. You would think that the people that are creating the content would be valued a little more, but sadly it hasn’t played out that way. Oh, they value your Intellectual Property. It’s like that stuff just materializes out of thin air, like magic. They don’t want to take care of those assets. I spent the last decade of my career in the military in leadership roles and one of the things I always valued was the people that worked for me. I went out of my way to encourage and support them. I think the landscape it ripe for a company to come along and actually treat authors with respect. Who knows if that will ever happen.
- Developing and keeping a habit of writing regularly is a pain in the ass. It’s that same ass that needs to sit in front of your computer or typewriter or notepad, whatever you prefer, and actually do the work. Everyone that writes professionally has a different habit pattern to the way they do it. Some write every day. A few writer’s that I know of write hours and hours seven days a week. Most of us can’t do that or simply don’t want to do that for lots of reasons. Some people write on the weekends. Some do it in tiny chunks, 15 minute blocks wherever they can find the time. But a lot of writer’s struggle to develop a regular habit pattern. This is the biggest challenge for me, setting time aside on a regular basis and blocking out all the distractions life can bring, and actually tap the keys to form words. There are so many distractions, internet, television/streaming shows, family responsibilities, or simply spending time with loved ones. It comes down to making it a priority and fighting for that time, and then actually taking advantage of it instead of checking email or surfing Instagram or Twitter for hours.
How is your writing journey coming along? Are there things you hate about writing?