From last week, the most popular answer to “What’s the hardest part of writing?” was self-doubt. I can honestly say this affects all writers to varying degrees. Here is but one example from Wil Wheaton’s blog. One of the best cures for self-doubt is getting honest and fair feedback from your peers. This was one of the main reasons that I was inspired to start this blog. We’ve just begun our first series of writers workshops.
Also, you can post some of your work on this site and to receive comments from our readers. If you want, you can publish under a pen name, so no one will know it was you. Even J.K. Rowling published under a pseudonym, presumably to see whether her books would sell without the name recognition. Apparently, best-selling authors still have their doubts too. You are not alone.
The next two answers show that many of us suffer from poor time-management. The fact that this post is two days late is evidence of my own sloth. I’ll try to find some resources in the next few weeks to help us prioritize our tasks and help realize our goals.
Coming up with new ideas and trying to get published are seemingly from opposite ends of writing, but they both have the same cure: keep writing. You have to train your brain to look for new ideas constantly. Wherever you are reading the news or at a cocktail party, new pieces of information are constantly bombarding your senses. Stitching all of that together into a story idea is a skill you can learn to master with practice. Then your only problem will be what to do with all the ideas floating around in your head.
Getting published is a matter of determination. You just have to keep submitting and keep writing new stories. Eventually you will have the right story in front of the right person at the right time. And today there are even more self-publishing options if you’re willing to do a lot of the legwork yourself.
Finally to advance a plot, figure out what your characters need or want, and what it is that’s keeping them from obtaining it. That will always drive your plot and your character development forward.