1. Uncertainty. When you don’t know whether or not the work you’re doing will ever “mean something” it can sometimes seem impossible to stay motivated.
2. Jumbled priorities. When working on a novel, for example, some people start with designing their own cover art when they should be using their fresh motivation to actually write some of the novel.
3. Bad time management. Some people aren’t great at creating and sticking to their own schedules and routines, which is essential if you’re trying to make progress on a big project on your own time.
4. Delayed gratification. We’re so used to getting some kind of result for our effort right away, but that’s just not how writing works. Long-term projects don’t provide immediate results.
5. Distractions. In general, many of us aren’t very good at separating ourselves from productivity barriers like social media and Netflix.
6. Procrastination. There are many reasons we procrastinate, but it’s often because we’re facing a difficult challenge and are trying to avoid it for as long as possible.
7. Boredom. If you don’t switch up your routines, environments, and the ways you work, there will come a point when you might find yourself looking for something shiny and new.
8. Shiny objects. Sort of like distractions, but their one and only goal is to completely de-rail the current project you’re working on. Just because it’s shiny doesn’t mean it’s better!
9. Inspiration mining. Many make the mistake of spending valuable time “mining” for things to inspire them when the best way to get inspired is to actually do the thing you’re trying to “get inspired” to do.
10. Inflated expectations. We all, for some reason, expect telling a story to be (mostly) easy. It’s not. It’s always so much harder than you think it will be. Expect it to be challenging, and it might seem more manageable.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.