Author Obstacles: A Blessing or a Curse?

Author Obstacles: A Blessing or a Curse?

March 31, 2017 Writing Advice 1

Ask any author what’s stopping them from writing more novels, novellas, short stories, or poetry, and you’ll get a wide assortment of answers!

Here are some of the most common answers:

  • I have to work a day job to pay the bills while I’m building up my author platform.
  • I don’t have the money to attend more events/market my books more.
  • I’m in a location where there aren’t a lot of readers/genre-specific fans.
  • My genre isn’t very popular.
  • I have a family that takes a lot of my time.
  • and so many more…

The truth is that EVERY author faces obstacles to writing. Even world-class authors do—Brandon Sanderson spends so much time traveling the world doing book signings and live appearances that he doesn’t have as much time to write as he’d like! Granted, that’s the kind of problem we’d all love to have, but you get the point.

I have my own share of obstacles: a demanding day job, four teenagers, living in Mexico (not a lot of English readers here), a niche genre (dark fantasy), a lack of time, and so on. Every author is going to have their obstacles.

author obstaclesBut do you want to know the truth about those obstacles? I’ve found they make me a better writer in the long run!

It may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out.

When I have 3 hours to write, I’ll usually spend a bit of time researching, relaxing, making my coffee, and grabbing a snack before I sit down to write. I’ll get in 2,000-3,000 words in that time. There’s minimal stress, and I can take my time to write those words.

Here’s the kicker: I can usually produce the same word count in half the time. Even if it’s a bit more pressured or stressful to hit the 2,000-word mark before my 90 minutes are up, I can almost always make it. The obstacle doesn’t prevent me from being productive—my own human nature does!

In the end, obstacles are what impel us to work harder. When we only have a limited amount of writing time, we “make hay while the sun shines” and end up writing more in less time. When we only have a limited amount of money, we find new and creative ways to market our product. When we have a family that requires time from us, we appreciate our writing time all the more—and the things we discover during our interactions with our family can make us better writers in the long run.

Yes, all authors have to deal with things that stop them from writing, or get in the way of “maximum productivity”. But I remember that old saying: “if you want something done, ask a busy man to do it”. The busier I am, the more I realize I can do. Obstacles make me more productive because I have less time in which to fit as much as I can. In the long run, I end up getting MORE done thanks to those obstacles!

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One Response

  1. Adan Ramie says:

    Well said, Andy. I find the same thing happens to me. When I have all day to do X, Y, and Z, those things will take all day – or, worse, will overlap into tomorrow. But when I have an hour for X, half for Y, and Z needs to be done yesterday, I sure can get a lot done. Thanks for a great post!

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