What is the hardest thing about writing?
I put that question into Google to see what others thought about the hardest part of writing. Here are the top answers (one from each page).
1. Showing up. Actually starting your project. Just sitting down and getting it written.
I can see how this can be difficult. There are so many things that go into a novel that it can be hard to actually start that first chapter. You have the characters to sketch and name, you have the back story for your world and your characters to plan, you might need maps for your fantasy world or extensive research to get your period piece just right. All of these things can distract from actually getting started.
The trick to get past this is… to write. Shove everything else aside and get some words down. You can research later and use Bob, Bob1, and Bob2 in place of names until you have time to get them sorted out. When you’re enthusiastic about a project, start writing before you lose that enthusiasm.
2. Dialogue. Getting it to sound realistic with a good flow.
I see lots of people that have trouble with this. You read their dialogue and think “No one would ever talk like this.” It gets more difficult when writing historical fiction, fantasy, or anything out of the ordinary that might call for a change in dialect.
To get past this, play it safe. Write like you were talking to a friend. Try typing up a few scenes like a script to get a better handle on the dialogue or write a piece that’s only dialogue and see if your readers can still figure out what’s going on. Have others read your story while focusing on your dialogue and give tips on how to improve. Even just reading more will help you improve.
3. Finding something to write about.
I always had trouble with this when writing non-fiction for school. Sometimes I still struggle with it. I’ll think okay, I want to write about dragons. But what about the dragons? The dragons themselves, or the people in that world? Will the dragons be good or bad? What will the actual plot be? Who are the character? What is life?
If you honestly have nothing to write about, find a writing prompt website or a plot generator. Write a short story or a silly little parody in which you replace the vampires in Twilight with gnomes. As long as it keeps you writing, go with it.
4. Not just writing, but writing something good and finishing it.
I struggle with this so much. Starting it is the easiest for me, but finishing is the hardest. The first four chapters are always easy, then getting past the fifth is the hardest. Then once I get past that point I tell myself that I have to finish the book since I put so much effort into it already. It’s the middle of the book where things really get difficult for me and I usually take a few weeks off rather than forcing myself to write.
How to fix this? Force yourself to write. Either set up a time that you’ll write each day, tell a friend to bug you about it, or set yourself rewards like every hundred words you write gets you a cookie. Just keep in mind how proud you’ll be of yourself when you finally finish that project. Won’t it be awesome?
5. Creating complex characters that win over an audience.
Is your character a Mary Sue? Is she boring, too perfect, or too bitchy? Does she complain so much that the readers will want to strangle her? Is your love interest boring and lifeless? Does your boy wizard happy to have the same personality as Harry Potter? Are your characters inconsistent, calling themselves nice one second and screaming at a child in the next?
This is a difficult one. Characterization is something a lot of beginning authors struggle with. For an example of amazing characterization, read A Song of Ice and Fire. His characters are all distinctly different and all have their own personalities. Alternatively, find a character quiz and fill it out for each character. If all the answers are starting to look the same, you know you need to do more work to make your characters unique.
What is most difficult for you? Is it on this list? Do you know of a good way to beat it?