The Struggles of Being a Writer

Procrastination, imposter syndrome, and writer's block? Oh my.

Megan Eisentraut

3/18/20243 min read

Deciding to be a writer is no small feat. 81% of people want to write a book, but only 3% succeed. That is a wild statistic, and something must happen in the in-between that cause writers to give up on their manuscripts. So what happens?

I think that there are three big issues that every writer faces that cause them to give up on their project. The first is procrastination. Everyone loves to daydream about writing, but actually writing is a lot harder. I'll admit that I googled "what percentage of time do writers spend writing" and was astonished that the results were so much higher than anything I could produce. Some people said they wrote for four to eight hours a day, some said three. I haven't sat down to write just to write in two weeks, and I'm astonished at the self-control so many of these writers have.

Thankfully, or perhaps regrettably, I don't think I'm the only one. I'm apart of a writing group that sets weekly goals for one another. I've found that I typically show up to meetings only to have at least half the people say that they didn't complete their goals. I myself have been in that position very often. The problem is that many of the goals as "write everyday" or "write three chapters this week." The issue is that I tend to write better on deadline (NaNoWriMo works wonders for me), so I will often go weeks at a time not writing because I always think I have no time. This tragically always seems to yield disastrous results. A writer who doesn't write can't move forward toward publishing, and it causes a lot of problems later on.

I spend a great deal of time with my headphones on daydreaming about my characters and their world. Can you imagine if I took that time to force myself to actually write the book I have dancing around my mind instead of just thinking about it?

The second problem I think most writers have is imposter syndrome. Now, I say that I think most writers have this, but in reality, I haven't met a writer that doesn't struggle with this. No one tends to think they're good enough. They don't think that they have a right to tell this story, they don't think they have the ability to write well, and they edit trying to reach a level of writing that is impossible without the help of a professional editor. We writers are perfectionists who never live up to our own expectations. I could argue that it's a sign of humility, but mostly what it does is slow us down and prevent us from achieving our dreams.

The third problem every writer faces (and you're lying if you say you don't) is writer's block. Having writer's block is similar to thinking all day about having to do laundry when you get home from work, but you know it's important enough that you'll remember so you don't write it down. Then, when you finally get home, you suddenly can't remember. You know it's important but nothing ever comes to mind.

It's infuriating and something that every writer has experienced. Then, there are times when you simply have no motivation to write. A part of you wants to, but you just can't force yourself to sit down and get anything down. Before you know it, it's been a month. Writer's Block tends to go hand-in-hand with procrastination.

All three of these vices are something that I struggle with on a regular basis. They're something all writers struggle with, no matter how hard we work to meet deadlines. So, if you've experienced any of these things (and if you're reading this, you have), then know you're not alone. Every writer, even the greats, have experienced this at one point in time. There are ways to power through and get it done, but that's a blog post for another day.