Last week, I posted this blog post, Overcoming Barriers to Being A Writer, and got some great responses on Facebook from people who had different barriers than I did. I want to share them, as well as advice that other readers gave. I have some ideas too.
- Several people noted that a barrier they had when they were younger was how mysterious the writing business was, particularly for those of us who grew up before the internet became so prevalent. I remember looking at a Writers Digest at my public library in high school and it was six months out of date. All the contest deadlines were long past. It seemed hopeless. I think this barrier is gone, and in fact, we have a different problem. The proliferation of resources and information is so overwhelming, researching the right way to publish leaves no time to write! The solution is to put aside the worries about publication until you’ve written something good enough to publish.
- This reminds me of another barrier. “The publication process is too daunting.” If you’ve written something already, the publishing process need not be any more daunting. You already wrote a book, you amazing wunderkind! The next step is to start researching. Start high level, reading articles about the different options. Once you decide what sounds most exciting to you, concentrate on it. For example, I want my memoir traditionally published, so I am querying agents. I plan to get 100 rejections before I consider self-publishing, but now that I’ve queried forty, I’m also researching small presses too.
- “I’m an introvert/disabled/geographically isolated.” This is the opposite of the problem I described, but it feels very real. Another person suggested that the writer who noted this barrier should look at joining Second Lifeand Virtual Writer. I wasn’t familiar with these sites until they were mentioned in my FB comments, but I strongly endorse finding on-line writing communities. I am a part of NaNoWriMo and Scribophile. You can find me on Scribophile HERE.
- Another barrier that was raised: The expense associated with attending writers conferences. I would add to that: the costs of subscriptions, websites, editing and design (among other things). All to sell something that is very unlikely to make any money! This is true, but there are also low-cost solutions, like Mail Chimp has a free newsletter option. many writers’ conferences have scholarships and volunteer opportunities that lower or eliminate the cost of entry. Most teenagers know how to set up websites, and your online writing communities are a good source of editing and design assistance.
- Another barrier: finding the time to write. Here’s my post from earlier in the week: Tips and Tricks for “Finding the Time. Shaunta Grimes also wrote about it in this post How to Teach Yourself Better Time Management.
- Getting Paid. This is a big one, and one that is less about individual writers and more about the publishing industry. The way I get paid is to have a job that I like well enough to do but not so much that it consumes my every waking hour. I don’t have suggestions for this one, but it’s possible if you are hardworking writer willing to take risks and keep at it for a long time. Or so I’ve heard.
- Fatigue and burnout — As with finding the time, it’s often easier to find something else to do other than write. I can’t make you stop playing Candy Crush before bed; that’s on you. But one reader noted that once you see “writing as a career, and not as a hobby,” it becomes easier to prioritize. Even making 10 minutes a day “MUST DO” will make a difference. I find that writing while I am tired, like exercise, can be invigorating and help me feel less burned out.
I have heard a few more barriers, so there will definitely be another post on this topic. Please keep your ideas coming. Or write your own blog post!