The Spanner in My Gears

Like my mother, I’m in love with lists. I love making them, feel safe having them, and endlessly refer to them. So naturally, in a bid to improve myself as a writer, I made several lists documenting my entire process: what makes me tick, genres I’m interested in, what I hate about writing, things I have to work on, etc. Obviously, “challenges” was one of such lists. And in the spirit of having the courage to post the most seemingly-irrelevant, mundane or personal reads (this being personal, without a cloak of fiction), I thought to share this—My List of Writing Challenges—with everyone.

  • Time. Who has time to write anyway? Except maybe “writers”? How does anyone ever juggle living—working, schooling, raising kids or anything else you do—with writing? Were we to take a poll, this would surely be everyone’s number 1 obstacle. But writing’s only half the job. Editing is another ball-game. I take days or weeks, choosing to completely forget a post, before returning to it with fresh eyes.
  • UNproductivity. Putting in more effort during what available time there is, as opposed to relying on some eureka moment or an arbitrary set of situations to situate themselves (temperature, mood, inspiration, weather, location, tea) before putting something down.
  • Verbosity. I do tend to go on and on, especially in posts like these that aren’t structured. That’s me attempting precision in many words. I’m tackling this by attempting shorter stories, forcing me to employ more concise wording.
  • Burning backaches. When that lower back starts to scream, it’s time to call it quits. Proper posture notwithstanding, I have this to contend with after sitting at a desk for prolonged periods.
  • Slow rhymes. My first bona-fide article of writing was a poem. I tackled some sonnets and other forms. But over the years I simply slacked in committing to the arduous but extremely gratifying task of constructing them. So yeah, “laziness for poetry”.
  • Excessive drafting. Many pieces sit in my draft folder, complete with e-cobwebs, awaiting one final touch—a fitting image, title, character name or suitable ending. Others sit in the same folder, merely images, titles, character names or catchy one-line endings, without an accompanying story.
  • Overcoming myself. And finally, sometimes nothing’s in my way but me. Publishing a finished piece of anything can be the most daunting task ever, regardless of the post’s content. Yet writing is meant to be read, not hidden in a dusty draft file. I started to post online after convincing myself thus.

So! I’ve identified this much about myself, which is always the first step to overcoming any obstacle. Some points might just be my process, my way of doing things. Fortunately this is a hobby and not a profession! It’s a work in progress. Now, on to prevailing…

Image by: Greg Younger via Flickr
WordPress suggested a post themed Obstacles

2 thoughts on “The Spanner in My Gears

  1. Absolutely. I guess that’s why we feel compelled to drop everything else and note down that sudden idea. It speaks volumes about our passion for it, that we somehow make out time regardless of our situation. Ultimately it’s a passion that simply has to be indulged. Finding the balance between sufficiently doing that and living our everyday lives is what keeps it from becoming a burden, I think.


  2. Do you ever have an important idea you want to write about while you’re doing something else? I need to drop everything and add it to my list. I used to have torn pieces of scrap paper in my wallet, my pockets or on my dresser. Scribbles. And disorganized. Now I keep the growing list on my phone, but like you, when do I find the time to actually write about it? We have to try and keep writing fun and fulfilling, not a burden right?


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