10 challenges only a writer can understand

It’s 6 am and, as the first rays of sunlight dispel the darkness of the night before, the whole world stirs sleepily. Coffee is brewed, grains of cereal rattle noisily into ceramic bowls, workwear is hastily pulled on and there is the mandatory frantic search for misplaced house keys before the front door is pulled to with a resounding bang.

But not writers. Writers can lead a peaceful, hassle-free life. They compose best-selling novels by idly tapping a few sporadic words into their keyboards; write thought-provoking articles as they loll lazily in the sun, a bikini and sarong their only apparel; and they conduct their research over a riotous dinner with friends. For writers, early mornings are complete strangers, work-related stress is an obscure term and travelling to the workplace is nothing more than a bad memory. Right?

If you’re a writer and you’re reading this, your eyes are probably rolling so far back into your skull you’ll have a problem getting them back. Undoubtedly, you’re no stranger to the fact that, like many other occupations, writing comes with a very particular set of challenges. We’ve listed 10 of those challenges that only a writer can truly understand.

1) Dealing with other people’s perceptions

The stereotypically eccentric, introverted writer type couldn’t be further removed from reality. We hate to break it to you, but writers are just as normal (if not as boring) as your everyday accountant.

2)  Working at home isn’t as easy as it sounds

While most of us do enjoy the flexibility and comfort of working from home, in truth, the distractions that seem to materialise in our living space somehow manage to do so on a frustratingly regular basis and finding the time (and space!) to do some work can prove immensely challenging. Many writers may prefer finding a co-working space or taking their laptop to their local coffee shop.

3)  Inspiration is a fickle fellow

Say that you’ve finally found a small time window in which you can do some writing. You make yourself a pot of tea and, a couple of fruitless, sweaty hours later, you’ll be no closer to handing in your assignment than you were at the beginning. Writer’s block is a very real possibility that can strike any writer without warning, implying missed deadlines and poor quality text.

4)  Wi-fi access is everywhere. Yeah, right.

Being a writer gives you the delicious freedom to write wherever you want. Remember all those pictures of sunkissed writers lolling on their deckchairs, a Mojito in one hand while the other composes fluent text at lightning speed? Well, we have news for you:

  1. Beach wi-fi access is rarely strong enough to do even the smallest amount of research on the sand
  2. Try getting the sand out of your laptop once you’re back home
  3. There’s no wi-fi on mountaintops, either

5)  Deadlines are ALWAYS closer than you think

Even if you’ve managed to overcome the difficulties that unreliable wi-fi connections, persistent distractions and unfair perceptions may bring, writing on a deadline is serious stuff, even if you can type at the speed of light. Procrastination is many a writer’s enemy, especially if you’re working from home. On top of everything, crafting a well-written piece of work is no picnic, and sometimes takes a lot longer than you’d originally planned.

6)  Word count? What word count?

You’re not a real writer unless you’ve gone way, way over a given word limit at least once. And, if you’re a freelance writer who’s paid per word, your client will certainly not be happy! All is not lost though, as all you need to do is to go through your work again and see what can be lopped off without losing your text substance.

7)  Proofreading your own work is impossible

No matter how thick your reading glasses or how many times you go over what you’ve written, sod’s law dictates that you won’t spot a spelling mistake until just after you hit Enter. That’s why we recommend getting someone else to proofread your work before submitting it.

8)  Edit, re-edit. Repeat

How many times have you perfected a writing task at one go? Exactly. Only writers know just how often you will obsessively go over what you’ve written to be absolutely sure you’ve got it right. You’re also no stranger to scrapping the entire thing and starting over from scratch. More than once.

9)  You have to write A LOT if you want to make ends meet

No matter how much you love writing, even doing what you love can get old when you have to do a lot of it. Writing to make ends meet is hardly the glamorous lifestyle that many imagine; on the contrary, full-time writers often have to put in a substantial amount of extra hours to make a reasonable income. Writing freelance may be a more realistic way of making a little extra cash on the side.

10) You won’t meet a harsher critic than yourself

The companies you write for love you. Your readers have nothing but praise for your work, and your family thinks you’re the next Stephen King – but you’re never a 100% happy with your work. Great! There’s always room for improvement no matter how good you are, and the more of a nitpicker the are, the more likely you’ll put in that little extra effort each time to you put your fingers to the keyboard.

What are you waiting for?

That’s exactly the sort of spirit we’re looking for. Join our community of skilled writers and let us see what you’ve got.