Twitter is a great place to accidentally discover writing prompts. It’s how I found this beautiful thread.
I’m always interested in writers’ answers to this question, since one of my goals here is to help you get from “idea” to “a whole bunch of words on a page.”
So I started scrolling through this tweet’s replies — and discovered all fell under only a few general, what I’ll call, “barriers to creation.” Most of which we’ve already covered, and will continue to do so, as needed.
Can you relate to any of these barriers? My guess is, you probably struggle with more than one.
1. The tiny humans
I’ve never experienced this firsthand — other than a few very rowdy Thanksgivings. But I do have one, soon-to-be two fur children. As much as you’d love to say, “Not right now, I’m a little busy,” there’s really no workaround. The tiny things must come first.
2. Our old friend Writer’s Block
I usually say I’m against the idea of Writer’s Block. Honestly, I just get annoyed when people use it as an excuse over and over again. Now, feeling blocked is a real thing, and many other things can cause it. Mental fatigue, usually. It happens to the best of us.
But when you do feel blocked, always do your best to identify the reason — and that can help you come up with a better solution. Quit overthinking, Will. You got this.
3. Digitized distractions
It’s tough out there for a fully grown human. Not only do you have to remember to feed, hydrate, and regularly bathe yourself — sometimes you have to do it for a tinier version of yourself. And this whole work thing. Sometimes, it’s all too much. You’re tired. How do you manage it all?
5. Actual ADHD (with a few possible solutions)
Some people occasionally struggle to follow through on self-promises. Others face a lifelong struggle to complete even the simplest tasks because their brains literally cannot. If you’re on the struggle train, Erich even suggested a few things that might help.
6. What’s focusing?
So. Many. Distractions.
7. Discipline (or lack thereof)
I might be able to help you out with that. Disciple rules!
8. All those mental hurdles
Rejection is hard. It’s miserable. And no matter how much you prepare for it, it still leaves scars. Starting, finishing, having the courage to send it out into the world — these are all such important milestones. But there’s another one we don’t like to talk about: figuring out what to do when you get shot down.
Even the thought of it — when you’re not even finished writing yet! — is scary. A totally legitimate fear. I think we’re all a little terrified, no matter how much experience we may or may not have.
9. Day jobs, debt, and always being tired
Whether your day job involves writing or not, coming home and finding the strength, energy, willpower to continue working is so hard it’s nearly impossible. I did say nearly, though. Sometimes, it’s all about creating space in your life for writing, even when it feels like there isn’t any left.
1o. Doubting yourself
I honestly wasn’t surprised to come across this answer. If you think you’re the only writer who struggles to get any work done because of this, don’t worry. You’re not.
I wish I had a straightforward solution to offer you other than “just write anyway.” But that’s the only strategy I’ve personally found effective. It might not be what you need, and that’s OK. Sometimes, though, the best way to overcome an obstacle is to crash through it screaming as loud as you can until it stops being so much of a challenge.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.