It’s a universally well known fact that writers have problems.
Wow…we just have so many problems. And to show how versatile we are, we collect dozens of different kinds and then put them in little glass boxes on our shelves and wave vaguely to them as we show visitors about our house. Yes, oh look right there is the box with No Idea How Grammar Works in it, and next to it is Crippling Self Doubt, and in that last box on the end we have Forgot My Own Plot.
(This is actually the most absurd imagery because LOL AS IF WE HAVE FRIENDS OVER.)
Now we’re all pretty well apt at wheezing in companionable terror over the average problems. So allow me to talk about…
5 (More) Underrated Writer Problems
So even if these weren’t on your list of things to angst over, they can be now! Pshaw we talk about the Big Problems™ all the time. Like sure, dude, we all have self-doubt and end up clawing our hair out. That’s not special. Let’s talk about the underrated agonies.
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I want to shout out to my brain for its current habit of envisioning book three in a series where I haven’t eVEN WRITTEN BOOK ONE YET. Fine, I admit: a little of this is on me because I’ve been loafing about when I should be writing. (No really. I actually make bread. It’s very delicious!) But my brain works at at least 100 x the speed of the rest of me.
I have so many books to write. So many ideas to explore. So much potential and ambition?!?!??!?!?!??
But I just can’t physically write all day, every day, so I think about writing a lot more than I actually write. (Although I won’t discount the importance of this because some of our best work is done nowhere near the computer.)
Anyway. Hi. My brain is bored of my slowness, and has 62-books in line to be written while I’m still editing just one. So how are you.
This is my life’s bane. I can trace nearly 80% of my writers block back to = elastic ideas. Do you ever just get an idea and have so many options to explore?? So many settings it could be with?? It could work with ALL of these plot points and they’re ALL cool and yet!!! You can’t !!! have them all !!!
One option obviously is to: write multiple books. But I’ll have a plot that can span in fifteen directions, but I only have the characters for one.
For example, a plot I’m developing right now involves kids finding a body in a garden. The plot works for the body to be old AND for it to be new and I just…can’t…c h o o s e.
I’ve always struggled with naming characters, probably because I suck at names in general. I collectively call all my sister’s children “Frank” because it’s just easier ok. I have 46 nicknames for my sister and have, um, never used her actual real name to her face ever?? I don’t even really like my own name, so I (obviously) think of myself as A Fury. So can you imagine me naming my characters?
It is a fantastic disaster.
My go to options are: (1) staring at my bookshelf and filching names off authors, (2) perusing lists on Nameberry.com, and (3) using a place holding name like JO and then it sticking for absolutely forever.
And ohhhh don’t get me started on changing names?!? I used to think once you named a character, BOOM, problems are over. But it turns out when you scrabble into publishing, your editor will have suggestions too. Absolutely everyone in the De Lainey family in my next book The Boy Who Steals Houses went through a name change. Either because of me, or my editor having thoughts. (Literally Jeremy is the only one who stayed — and I named him after FREAKING KOOKABURRA PICTURE BOOK.)
Ok don’t look at me like that. Words are hard, ok. There are a lot of things in this world that we take for granted and have no clue what they are called. Sure I know what a castle looks like. But what are the tower thingies called???? Can I say “small wall” vs “big wall”? What are things called in an industrial kitchen?? What do you call that thingie thing on the house roof?! I want to describe a sailing ship but also: how.
What is — GESTURES VAGUELY TO ALL OF IT — this?????
And, ohhhh you know the true nightmare? Clothes. I can’t even with describing clothes. If you want to know why my characters where jeans and tee-shirts is because I have no idea how to name other things. Every time an American book says “he wore khaki pants” my brain is like: “WHAT.” What are those hipster hats called? What type of shoes are those??? How do you even describe medieval outfits?! Like. how.
And don’t even get me started on language differences. Because “pants” in the UK mean something different to “pants” in the USA!!!!!!
Someone is out there to make me cry.
I love my books. I love that writing is my job. I’m so lucky and so fiercely proud of my work and this will never stop! If you mention A Thousand Perfect Notes or The Boy Who Steals Houses, I am just one long !!!!!!!!
Also, I am totally ok to never read them again. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Looool. It’s just when you’re polishing up a book for publishing, you read it so many times. Every round of drafts. Every round of edits. (And there are so many rounds.) You reread chapters to check facts. You reread it just before printing. You panic-reread it when your editor says “What do you want for the acknowledgements?” I HAVE READ MINE AT LEAST 10308 TIMES EACH.
I don’t know if this is truly an “underrated” problem for we authors, but I don’t see people whining about it as much so WOW Thank goodness for me, I’ll fill that quota. It’s just such a talent to love every single word of my book and then sort of die when I need to edit it again.
right. now please do tell me YOUR underrated writing problems. the little gnarly ones, particularly! and do you suffer with any of mine too?