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8 Problems Only Writers Will Understand

Updated on October 21, 2016
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Poppy lives in Tokyo, Japan and spends her free time reading, writing and playing video games. Send her a message and say hi!

As a writer, you will know the problems that all of us struggling along in the literary world face. Here are just a few that you may be able to relate to.


The pain of killing off a character you love

Perhaps it's essential to the plot or it's simply to shock your audience, but we all have that character we like who simply must die at some point or another. The main character's sickly father, someone's best friend, the guy who was secretly a good guy when, until his death, everyone find out he's good (cough cough, Sirius Black). Sometimes it's just hard to let go of that adorable, well-developed character. Characters are a part of you, and killing them off is sometimes horribly painful.

People saying they want to read your book... then never reading it

Maybe it's just me, but I have people who see a preview or the front cover of my upcoming book and say 'Wow! I can't wait to read/buy it!' Then when the book does come out, these people either mysteriously disappear, or suddenly have such a tight schedule that they can't possibly have time for reading, even if it's free reading. If you're a writer, you may understand this problem, unless all your friends love books and do find the time to read yours. In that case, you're awesome.


Always getting your best ideas at the most inconvenient times

Ever had a brilliant idea for your next book five minutes before a job interview? During an extremely busy day? As you're drifting off to sleep in the wee hours of the morning? Yeah, that happens a lot. Your best ideas come to you when it's least convenient - and by the time you get five minutes to scribble down your thoughts, the ideas have either disappeared completely, or have diluted into something a lot less impressive. Similarly, you find a nice few hours for 'designated writing time' only to find that no ideas come to you at all. Darn it, brain.

Reading your old ideas and realising they're terrible

You wrote a pretty good scene yesterday... so you thought. Then you read it back for a quick edit, and end up deleting the whole thing as disappointed tears flow down your cheeks. Why is it that you felt like a superstar whilst writing it, the action seeming as awesome on paper as it did in your head, and then later it just seems like nonsense?

"I don't mind. I don't mind."
"I don't mind. I don't mind." | Source

Pretending not to care when you get bad reviews

The cover looks unprofessional, the characters don't look right, and the artist has used too much Photoshop. Even if it wasn't you who designed it, it still hurts when someone gives a negative comment about your baby's front cover, as this is, of course, the first thing potential readers see. Just give that fake 'I don't care' laugh whilst holding back the tears. Don't worry, there are probably much worse covers out there. Check out some howlers on Pinterest.

You pretend you don't care about, or even notice, a bad review. They didn't like your storyline, they said you don't like your characters, the writing was bland and they're not going to buy the sequel. They don't know anything about books, anyway, you think. Probably just a troll trying to upset you. Probably just jealous. Probably. Maybe. *Sheds tear*...


When your sales figures suck

Checking your sales figures religiously isn't healthy, but it's not something you can really stop. "Did anyone buy any of my books since five minutes ago?" you wonder, and click to see the updated graph.

Lack of sales is depressing, especially when you worked so hard on your masterpiece. Just know that we're with you, and we sympathise.


Your new and insatiable need for coffee

Paired with the 'best ideas come when I should be sleeping', coffee suddenly becomes a staple food. When you're typing furiously to reach your goal as the clock's chiming 3am, sometimes you just need that boost of rich, black caffeine. Suddenly your writing budget's scales tip slightly away from stationery, proofread budget and notebooks, and tilts toward caffiene-rich hot drinks.


People pronouncing your characters' names wrong

If your book features characters from foreign countries, a fantasy world, or you simply enjoy completely unique names, it can be frustrating when someone pronounces your characters' names wrong. Who knows how J.K. Rowling felt when readers where calling her main female character "Her-me-own-nee".

That's just a few of the problems writers have to deal with, day in and day out. However, I'm sure no writer would ever trade their craft for anything. Got any more writer's problems not mentioned here? Add them to the comments below.


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    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Very entertaining poppy. Great way to start off my morning. Only a writer would understand :)

    • profile image

      Randall Guinn 2 years ago

      I think that you covered all the bases Poppy. Much of it has to do with that old saying, it's who you know, and not what you know. Yet, if we can only manage to get the right person to read our work, everything could change overnight. You're still young and smart though, so keep up the good fight so that I can one day say, "yeah I know that blockbuster author!"

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Lovely comments guys, thank you!

    • Sarah Anderson profile image

      Sarah Anderson 2 years ago from Wallingford, CT

      How about getting a great idea and then realizing someone else already thought of it?

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I already thought of that.

      Just kidding :P Yes, very true. Done it before :(

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 2 years ago

      You make some really good points! I hate when I come up with an idea for a story or words to a poem while I'm lying down; it's such a pain to get up and write it down. At the same time though, I'm happy the ideas come to me at all! Something else I hate is wanting to write a story but not knowing exactly how. For example, even after watching certain shows etc. about how detectives do their jobs and everything, it's still hard to write about it.

      I too, hate when people say that they want to read your story but then they don't. Also, while I honestly want to hear opinions about my story, it still stinks when someone doesn't like it.

      For the record, I think it's so cool that you're a writer! Congrats!

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      You too Breanne! In some weird way I'm glad I'm not the only one who suffers from these problems, haha. Do you read often? I find it so much easier to write if I read. Watching TV can help for ideas, but the 'how' part can be helped by reading.

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 2 years ago

      I do read, but not as much as I'd like. I kind of have this bad habit of starting a book and not finishing. The last book I read in full though was "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and that wasn't too long ago, it's a great book and even better movie!

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 2 years ago

      Sarah Anderson,

      You too have a great point about how much it stinks when you come up with a great idea for a story and it's already been done. I wrote a story once and I had someone tell me it was good and reminded them of a show I swear I never saw!

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 2 years ago

      This is a delightful hub. One problem I've experienced is people who aren't skilled with writing think they magically are (despite my opinion) or will become this way with virtually no effort. Voted up.

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 24 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Thanks Julie!

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 24 months ago

      You are most welcome.

    • I Am Rosa profile image

      Rosa Marchisella 24 months ago from Canada

      So true ... the second one hit home the hardest. I'm still haunted by the memory of walking into my mom's apartment and finding a copy of my first novel still sitting in the exact spot she put it down when I gave it to her more than a year previous. Broke my heart.

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