Friday Morning Ramblings – 2/3/17

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Another fan has asked me what are the biggest obstacles to writing that I deal with on a regular basis. If you struggle with writing regularly, hope you find this post helpful:

5) The Day Job – If you’re like the vast majority of writers, you have to work at an outside job to pay your bills.If you’re like most Americans, you need two. I’m no exception, and the grind of juggling outside employment and making time to write can take its toll. Back when I still worked in education, I usually had to do the majority of my writing during the summer months. Now, I work at two different jobs, one outside the house and one from home, and some days I struggle to find the energy to write. However, I also know that in order to accomplish my goals, some sacrifices have to be made. More often than not, when I feel too tired to write, I force myself to sit down and write at least a couple of pages. Any progress is positive. You don’t have to write thousands of words every single day in order to complete a manuscript; you just need to make steady progress on a consistent basis.

4) Time Bandits – The distractions of TV and video games can eat up a lot of time if you allow them. Some days, when my energy levels are low, I find myself longing for the simplicity of vegging out in front of the tube or a game. I love movies, so there are times when this temptation can be great. But again, I have a writing schedule, and I intend to stick to it. I have to make a conscious decision to turn off the time bandits and focus on the work I have to accomplish.

3) Fear/Anxiety – “Fear is the mind killer” as Frank Herbert warned. Whether it be fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success, or fear of fear, many of us have to face these fears on a regular basis. If you have ever dealt with regular anxiety, you already know how debilitating it can be. For creative people, anxiety can obliterate ambition because the fears can overwhelm our creative drive. For me, anxiety is a relatively new development, so I’m still learning how to deal with it in my daily life. However, in terms of writing, my answer may seem rather trite, but I tend to ignore it and press on. As a writer, I simply cannot allow fear to clog my creative process. No matter how bad the anxiety may flare up, I force myself to sit down and hit my page goal. The way I convince myself to overcome the fears is by reminding myself that no matter what, if there are words on the page, I can polish them later.

2) Brain Fog – For those of you who don’t know, I suffer from a neurological disorder (most likely MS, though I don’t have a confirmed diagnosis). One of the worst symptoms is the brain fog it causes. Unlike the previous entries, this one simply can’t be pushed through. When the brain fog is bad, my thoughts become too disconnected to concentrate on composition. It might take two hours to write a hundred words, and there’s simply no way to write effective fiction like that. My only course of action is to wait until the brain fog passes and write while I can.

1) Depression – The worst obstacle I face, not just in writing but also in life, is depression. Ever since my head injury when I was 16, I’ve struggled with depressive episodes. Most of the time, they are mild and I can get through them with a little effort and some sunshine. However, sometimes, I slip into deeper episodes that can be completely debilitating. These times are the biggest obstacles to writing because, as anyone who has experienced real depression can attest, it robs the individual of all motivation and drive. The only way I can get through these episodes is with medication, and I urge anyone who struggles with it not to suffer needlessly. Depression is a serious illness, but it can be controlled with medicine.

So those are my five biggest obstacles to writing. Despite dealing with them, I’ve managed to write the longest book of my career in about six months, and if I can do it, anyone can. You just have to make a conscious decision to fight through whatever difficulties life puts in your way.

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