Guest post: Challenges I faced in Writing

I’m sharing an excerpt from the guest post at Surbhi Sareen’s blog about the challenges I faced during my writing journey.
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Thank you for hosting me at your blog, Surbhi. Today I would like to talk about the challenges faced by writers.

Writing is the process of translating thoughts and images in your mind to the keyboard or the paper as the case may be. In as much, it looks to be a fairly simple process. But when you are writing fiction, those images and thoughts have to follow a particular cadence. They have to be woven into the pattern of logic and sequence. Ask any writer and they will tell you, writing – serious writing – is the hardest thing to do, especially over long periods.

Let me take you through the challenges I have faced as a writer. Let me know if they resound to you.

Initial stages:
When I first thought about writing and ventured to write, I often found this question staring at me in the face and echoing in my ears. Why are you stuck to the keyboard? I had no idea that taking a character through internal monologue could take up a WHOLE EVENING! My family was often exasperated at the amount of time I spent on writing. Their expressions conveyed that they thought I was wasting my time. Their attitude changed with time, but starting out that was a big hurdle to face. I couldn’t explain that the problems of the characters had become more important than the mundane chores of daily routine. Try saying that aloud and you’ll get the idea. We writers live so much in our heads that it takes time to unwrap our concerns from fiction and transfer them to fact. Unfortunately, people around us have no idea what we’re going through. However, I stuck with it, formed a sort of writing routine, disciplined myself not to let writing encroach on family time and eventually they realised writing was here to stay.

During the learning curve of discovering writing was not just art, but also craft, I learnt about:

Grammar
Characters’ motivation.
Realistic setting.
Convincing villains or indeed any secondary characters.
Am I riveted to and surprised by this story?
You might take a note of these things as a checklist for your book.

During the publishing journey:

Like every new writer, I had some vague idea that finishing a book was all that was required to become an author. This was dispelled rapidly when I clicked the submit button and offers of raving publishers failed to materialize. Rejection. Just that word is enough to set up any writer’s back. When we can see the gold in our work, why are the publishers so oblivious to it? It took some attempts to finally have it sink in that finishing a manuscript is just the beginning. Getting published was a real and Avenger style seemingly implausible hurdle. Eventually, I hit upon bright times. I gained a lot of experience. It is not wrong when they say, the failures are those who give up. When you stick to it, the breakthrough comes to you. However, at every step, a steep learning curve awaits you. During this process, I learnt three things:

Contracts are never fair to the writer.
They are not that unfair once you get used to it.
You have to decide what you want out of your writing career: i) Money ii) satisfaction of being published iii) independence to make your decisions regarding your work.
Writing is best regarded as a hobby, not a profession.
Above evaluation is subject to change.
Those are quite hard lessons to learn. But as they say, what doesn’t put you off, you makes you better. Well, they don’t say it. I do J

After getting published:

I’m sure most writers can’t figure out why they are compelled to write. There is just an internal drive. Sometimes it can fade out when the rush of everyday life takes over but it comes back before long. Publishers only accept a handful of submissions depending on the ‘brand’ that they are maintaining. So self publishing makes a lot of sense. However, before stepping into it, it’s essential to review the pointers above.

Once I had taken the decision to self publish, it still didn’t hit until much later how much work was to be done. In self publishing, you are on your own. So, that was really exhilarating in a sense because, well, you OWN your book, blurb, font size, cover and what not! Then it slowly began to sink in that I’d have to work and build these things. And build them to a standard competitive to the publishers’. I was staunchly fixed on one decision. I wasn’t going to splash a lot of money on writing. I had no idea what kind of returns there would be, so lean spending seemed a sensible option. I bought least cost pictures, got hold of free cover maker software and took the plunge. After two months, I was seeing money. It seemed pretty unbelievable at first but gradually, the steady trickle became an accepted fact. However, the moment I relaxed my hold and stopped looking at numbers, the sales fell. It sank in that I was losing writing time because I had to take care of spreading the word about my books.

Marketing

Let me not even touch the subject of marketing. It’s a writing time eating insect which throws you into a perplexing soap opera of doubts. If you are a relatively introvert type like me, you don’t want to have to do anything with it. However, unless you have written just to get rid of the story in your brain with no desire to reach anybody, you want your book to be seen. I heard and absorbed terms like platform, social media, promotions, blog tours. Took quite a while getting used to, I can tell you.
Read the rest of the post at:
https://captivatingmode.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/challenges-i-faced-in-writing/

#writerstipwednesday

I have been meaning to start a writerstipwednesday section on this blog for a long time. Since the first thing to be done in the New Year should be taking care of old matters, so I’m taking the plunge on this today.

writerstipwednesday is for writers. And especially for aspiring authors. In true sense, an author is always aspiring as long as they are writing but I use the term to mean as yet unpublished writers. But which ever phase of writing you fall in, you must have gleaned some experiences so this section is to put forward the lessons from those mistakes so others may profit from them.

All you have to do is message/email me your writing tip. It can be about any stage in the writing process, grammar, writing craft, writing art, publishing, marketing, reader engagement….anything related to writing. It need not be in a highly polished or formal state though of course it should be understandable. It can be of any length upto 350 words. I’ll post your tip along with your one important link – your site link or book link or anything you like.

keyboard pic

So get ready and sharpen your pencils – or dust of your keyboards – as the case maybe. Pour out the gems the world is waiting to hear from you. Especially that writer who’s stuck staring at the blank screen. Think, what could help that writer do better? One tip per writer per Wednesday. That’s the only rule. It means, don’t bombard me with writing advice. Just give me one very helpful, sparkling, scintillating, earth shaking insight into writing. That will be the sword that magically tears up the giant evil monster to bits. We are all struggling with various monsters during writing, so the wordy swords from you will be very welcome.

You can comment in the box at the ‘About me’ page on this blog to contribute to writerstipwednesday. Thank you. Wish you a rocking year ahead. Wish this year brings us the discovery of a pizza which actually reduces your weight when you eat it. And similar varieties of chocolate, aloo tikki….you get my drift 🙂

Happy New year. Go grab your dreams and help others in theirs.

Remember to use #writerstipwednesday in all Twitter mentions about this.

picture credits: www.learningDSLRVideo.com via flickr.com