While being a writer has major advantages, it also has its own challenges. Anything without challenges is boring because challenges mould and train us. Some challenges can drain the life out of us, though, which is why it is good to enlist help from others when we experience them. Below are some of the major challenges writers experience and my solutions to them.
1. Writer’s Block
This is what you feel when you find it difficult to write. You just don’t know what to write, you’re not in the mood, and you don’t know when you will be in the mood.
Writer’s block can be very dangerous, especially if you don’t deal with it quickly. Below are some quick solutions to overcoming writer’s block.
- Take some rest. Make sure you’re getting adequate sleep, and that you’re not over-stressing yourself.
- Read, read and read. You can’t produce without consuming. You need information to thrive, so make sure you read, read and read some more.
- Exercise regularly. Sometimes, the problem is with you being inactive. The flow of blood through your brain can have a lot to do with how creative you are, so make sure you are getting enough exercise. Exercise makes us healthy and physically fit. It puts us in the right frame of mind.
- Don’t Write. Sometimes, you’re experiencing writer’s block because you have been writing for so long that it’s killing you. Try not to write for a whole day. Go out there, enjoy the world, see friends and have a lot of fun. You will be amazed at how refreshed and productive you can be at the end of the day.
2. Lack of Ideas
You’re very sure you can write that article, but you don’t have ideas or points to write on. It happens to everybody, and the good news is that there’s a solution to this. Below are some ways to get ideas on what to write on.
- Observe Nature. Taking a look at trees around you, or your dog, or any other object of nature can give you some of your best ideas.
- Read anything (good, of course) that comes your way. Reading is a cure to lack of ideas. Read anything that comes your way with openness to new ideas that can contribute to what you want to write.
- Research what to write. Use Google, social media sites, and websites to ignite some of your own ideas.
3. Lack of Productivity
This can be a huge problem on its own, especially if you live in an environment filled with children, or a busy and unproductive environment. I’ve written a complete article on productivity before, and I think it’s one of the best out there. Click here to read the article.
4. Lack of Confidence
This is the most dangerous problem that can plague a writer. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are or how much experience you’ve got; you won’t go so far unless you are confident of what you have to offer.
Being confident isn’t about just knowing that you know your stuff, it is also about being ready to demand what you’re worth. When you’re confident about your skills and what you’re worth you won’t allow yourself to get paid just anything. You will happily demand what you’re worth because you know your service will produce results.
Fear is one major factor that brings about lack of confidence in budding writers. A lot of writers are afraid and bombarded with “what ifs”:
- What if this is the only client I’ll get in a long while?
- What if I’m not really worth what I’m asking for?
- What if my service won’t deliver the expected results?
- What if there’s no other way to pay the bills?
- What if this post won’t result in sales?
- What if nobody will buy if I ask them to?
These questions can be really confusing, and if you’re not careful you will make a lot of wrong choices. In a situation like this, I tell myself that there will always be a better opportunity, and there has always been. One thing I’ve gradually come to realize is that the more you cling to those unprofitable offers the farther away you’re from getting people who will pay you well.
Confidence is internal, it has nothing to do with skills, age, or reputation.
Most people are yet to apply for a writing gig with that big company. Most people are yet to pitch a guest post to that big blogger and most people are yet to negotiate an increase in income with their clients. Is it because they don’t have what it takes? No, it is because they’re not confident about having what it takes. It is because they don’t believe that they have what it takes.
Believe me; sometimes, what it takes to move from failure to success is confidence; confidence to take a particular action, confidence to take a particular risk and confidence to believe in you.
So you know how powerful confidence can be, it helped me increase the amount I’m paid per article by a particular client from around $50/$70 – up to $200. Of course, I had to increase the value I provide to that client but this won’t have been possible without confidence, and I’d probably be offering the same value for less than half the price if I wasn’t confident about what I have to offer. This article by Carol Tice helped me boost my self-confidence, so check it out!
5. Getting REAL Clients
Getting clients is probably the number one challenge most writers face. A lot of people believe they have the skills but just can’t seem to get clients. Most importantly, a lot of writers reading this don’t want just any client; they want REAL clients that are willing to pay them what they’re worth. If you’re one of these writers I have good news for you, you’re not alone!
There are several ways to get clients who are ready to treat you with the respect you deserve. Based on my experience the formula below is always going to work.
- Look for a Service Very Few People Can Offer: The more people can offer the service you want to offer the less likely a client will hire you, and if they do, the less likely they are to treat you well. Your aim should be to be almost indispensable. The more integral you are to the success of an organization; the fewer people who can offer the same service you; and the more likely not having you will have an impact on any organization; the higher your chances of success. This takes time and effort, of course, and a lot of creativity, but you will have enough clients and be paid what you’re worth if can offer a service very few people can.
- Look for a Group of People/Organizations who Need Your Service: The next thing is to compile a list of individuals or organizations that will need your service. Make sure your list is as extensive as possible and make sure you only compile a list of people who share the same values as you. My reason for saying you should compile a very extensive list is that not everybody will hire you. Contacting up to hundred businesses with the right offer will result in enough clients for you and a chance to negotiate and get better deals should you decide to go with only one or two of them.
- Get in Touch With Them to Let Them Know How You can help Them: Your motto in this regards should be “Results are rewarded, efforts aren’t”. Don’t contact a client telling them how many articles you can write in a month. Let them know how your experience has contributed to past businesses, what kind of results each article you write will deliver and what steps you will take to deliver these results. Sometimes, this means you have to make a promise, or offer a discount or free trial of your service (if this is an organization you really want to work for). Some of these steps look inconvenient, but they shouldn’t be if you really know your stuff and want to get results.
- Offer to Help Them for Almost Double the Amount You Really Want to Charge: Once you’ve gotten them to agree to work with you, charge them double the amount you intend to charge. I know this sounds counter intuitive but you will be amazed at how effective it can be. Most of these clients are already convinced about how you can help their business so charging them so much will not have a negative impact. In fact, it will only increase your value in their eyes. Of course, most of these clients will negotiate and as a result you won’t get paid less than you’re worth. Bottom line is that you will end up getting a better deal no matter how much they offer.
You can also go more advanced by following my proven strategies for getting clients to come to you through your blog; this is properly outlined in Stop Pitching Clients, my system for getting clients from blogging.
6. The Fear of Selling
We’re all afraid of selling because we believe “people will hate us”, “they will condemn us”, and “some people will even say we’ve sold out”! This is natural, but the sooner you realize that you have to sell every day the more you start embracing that aspect of yourself to make yourself a better seller.
Think about it, convincing a few people to read your blog alone is selling. Convincing someone to be your friend is selling and getting people to believe in your ideas is selling. Why not do a better job at it by accepting you sell every day and by working to be a better seller?
Selling doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. After all, you have nothing to worry about if what you’re selling will make the buyer a better person.
The key to overcoming the fear of selling is to realize that some people will always complain and that there is nothing you can do about it. Those people are not a part of your audience.
As a writer you have to keep producing and you have to feed yourself. Your success depends on selling and you shouldn’t be afraid of doing it. Embrace feedback, but be wary of trolls and haters.
7. Inability to Get Traction
This seems like a huge problem until it isn’t.
Most people complain about not gaining traction, but ask them what they have done to gain traction and it is nothing.
Gaining traction is easy, retaining it is difficult but both are things you can do. The key to gaining traction is selling yourself and ideas to other people. You need to be creative and smart to get traction, but the key lies in getting your ideas across to people.
Network with other people more successful than you are. Leverage the network of bigger and better bloggers and writers around you and work on getting your message across to as many people as possible.
For more ideas on getting traction online make sure you read this article.
8. Too Much Competition
Competition is rife these days, especially with a medium like the internet available to give everybody equal footing. People will accept $10 for the same services you offer for $100. In fact, most of these people will beg to offer their services for such a lower price due to a different standard of living and difficulty of life in various parts of the world.
Competition looks like a problem, but it’s not. It’s a solution!
Too much competition in a space is an opportunity to earn more. It is a chance to think out of the box and pioneer a creative way to earn money. You don’t necessarily have to pioneer anything, but those who are ready to think outside the box and embrace competition will be paid well.
Stop being afraid of the competition; embrace it! More competition is an opportunity to offer more value and increase your worth, so whenever you see a field becoming too competitive don’t wait until you’re being paid peanuts for your work. Increase the value you have to offer and increase your rates with it. There’s a probability that very few people will be able to do the same, and that’s where the income lies for you.
9. Low Writer Pay
This mostly has to do with lack of confidence or not getting REAL clients. Refer to points 4 and 5 for some pointers on what to do.
10. Overbearing Clients
They’re everywhere. It would’ve not been that bad if all they did was make you do more work than you should for your money. Worse than this, they dampen your spirit and make you doubt yourself and if you’re not careful, this will cost you a lot on the long run.
Whenever you’re dealing with an overbearing client and are sure of the quality of service you’re offering, double your rates! They probably won’t be able to pay it, but that will make them respect you more and control themselves. If they still don’t, fire them!
Ever tried to work only to find that you’re not in the mood or that you don’t have the drive? In most cases this has to do with your current lifestyle and has nothing to do with you not having anything to write about.
For example, I recently discovered I was unable to do anything lately no matter how much I tried. This continued for a few days and my productivity level was so low, I decided to rest. I found out that I was sick the following day.
If you can’t get yourself to work it mostly has to do with your body complaining. Take some rest, go for a medical checkup and do the following to ensure you’re always in good mood.
- Exercise regularly
- Eat good food regularly; no junk food – and don’t starve yourself
- Wake up early; sleeping till 9 or 10 in the morning will probably contribute to damaging your creative juice. If possible, wake up by 6 in the morning and exercise then, read for an hour or so and get back to work.
- Look for emotional encouragement. If you’re not emotionally fit you can’t work. Make sure you regularly encourage yourself internally and externally, and make sure your happiness and emotional health don’t depend on anyone or anything.
12. Emotional Breakdown
This happens a lot, when you start to doubt yourself and can’t get yourself to work. It is mostly as a result of being criticized by a client or someone else. You may be having some problems at home or online, or just having a feeling that you’re inadequate. The first step is to realize that it is just what it is, a feeling and not reality. The solution is to work towards your personal development by doing the following.
- Exercise every day
- Eat good food
- Read personal development books and blogs
- Work on improving your self-confidence
- Examine all criticisms but don’t get attached to them
- Surround yourself with good friends who can offer you encouragement
No matter how important your work is, make sure you aren’t alone for too long. Take regular breaks to be with friends. Take a few minutes to read, think and watch the TV.
Writing is important, but ditching your friends is dangerous. In fact, ditching your TV is dangerous, too.
Sometimes, you can even listen to music. Anything you can do to ensure you don’t feel alone will go a long way to improving your life.
A lot of people don’t know they are isolated until it is too late. Don’t be one of them.
14. Use/Expression of Words
This applies especially to non-native English speakers.
A lot of us struggle with use/expression of words and we think we can’t succeed as a writer. Some of us are even ashamed because we think we don’t qualify to be a writer.
The solution: Don’t be afraid to speak/write where a lot of qualified people are. Try to make your mistakes soon so that people can correct you. Also, associate with people who are good with the English language and over time you will notice a pattern. Your use of the English language will improve gradually.
You should also spend more time reading and writing. Read quality blogs that focus on helping people become better writers, read quality books dedicated to writers and spend more time writing and writing and writing.
One great book I recommend every writer should check out is The Elements of Style; it’s a bible for anyone who wants to master the English language.
Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results – Albert Einstein
Most people complain about not getting a better deal from their clients while still offering the same service. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would a client pay you more for the same service you’ve been doing at a lower rate for months/years?
The solution is to increase your value. The increase in value might not be much but the pay will be great.
Focus on increasing the value you offer to a client. Focus on developing a unique approach for delivering your work and negotiate with the client to get a better pay. Most clients will happily pay more if they see they’re getting a better value.
16. Money Problems
One major problem I’ve faced with my writing career is with money. I just don’t know how to budget. There are a lot of major expenses out there that need my money immediately, and attending to these expenses sometimes result in me having to be offline for days.
The solution is to save and budget. Before you’re paid your income for a particular month make sure you budget how much you want to spend and how much you want to save.
Saving and budgeting will also help you deal with clients. Having enough money in your account will help you avoid acting impulsively because you need quick cash.
17. Lack of Rest
Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise – Benjamin Franklin
How many hours do you sleep in a day? How much do you think it helps your productivity?
I have compared days of sleeping 6 hours a day with days of sleeping 8-9 hours a day and I have found the latter to be better. The more rest I take in a particular day, the more focused I am and the more work I’m able to get done.
Getting things done as a writer is all about thinking and being focused and if you can’t do those two things you’re toast. Lack of rest makes it almost impossible to do those two things. The key to getting more done isn’t about having more time, it is to have enough focused time.
We all struggle with this, and this is why a report I promised will take two weeks is already taking two months.
It’s normal. It is part of why we’re writers. We don’t want to release anything to the world except it is our best, and sometimes, this can be our undoing.
The solution is to realize that your work is perfect as it is. The key isn’t to perfect something before it is released. It is to release it and then perfect it. Spending months on something that will take weeks might look like a smart decision, but what if it is released and it isn’t what your audience likes?
Release that thing you’re finding difficult to release to the public. Improve it based on the feedback you receive and you will be amazed at how effective that can be.
What Other Challenges Do You Experience?
Kindly share your challenges as a writer below as well as a solution to them. Also take a minute to spread the word by sharing this post on your favorite social media site.