Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Reasons I Might be Struggling as a Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Choosing to be a writer can be a daunting prospect. It involves courage, creativity, and yes, commitment. When we’re unwilling to make that commitment, we can doom ourselves to failure before we’ve had a chance to succeed. 

This post isn’t meant to beat anyone up, but rather to make us aware of some of the things that could be holding us back on our writing journey.

Reasons I Might be Struggling as a Writer...
1. I'm unwilling to write on a schedule. Notice I didn’t say write every day or write every morning. There are some who other commitments in addition to writing that make scheduling a daily writing time unreasonable. HOWEVER, we can all make a commitment to certain times during the week to write. 

2. I'm unwilling to spend time writing. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how creative writers can be when it comes to thinking up reasons not to write. Beyond that, you’ll find writing groups and gathers populated with scores of people who want to be writers, but have reasons why they can’t right now. The truth is we all have reasons in our lives not to take the time to write. It all boils down to priorities. We make time for the things that are most important.

3. I'm unwilling to invest in learning how to write. Talent is great, but that alone won’t get any of us to the top, or even very far above the bottom. We have to learn how to apply the talent we’ve been given. That means reading books and blogs as well as attending classes and conferences. 

4. I'm unwilling or defensive about being critiqued. I’m still not the best about enjoying a good critique, but I’ve learned how to accept it. I thank the person critiquing me, and even if I don’t agree, I look it over and try to take what I can from it. Especially with in-person critiques I’ve learned that being defensive and trying to explain or justify is counterproductive. 

5. I'm unwilling to join a writers group. There are those in the industry who disagree with me, but not many. I’ve found that for me, and the hundreds of writers I’ve worked with, that we’re all stronger together. We need others to encourage us along the way. We also need the perspective of those who’ve experienced what we’re going through. 

6. I'm refuse to spend time reading. Our business is that of writing. How can we have perspective on the industry if we refuse to read what’s being written? Books are a valuable way to learn and polish our own writing. 

7. I'm unwilling to learn the business of writing. There’s more to writing than just putting words on paper. We need to learn the language of the publishing industry. We need to learn the etiquette of the publishing industry. We need to learn the marketing and social media side of the business, and how things work. 

8. I'm unwilling to be patient. Writing is a craft. It’s not something learned overnight. We often come into this business with something we’ve written and expect it to be publishable. That’s just not reasonable. A concert pianist can’t expect to be performance-ready before his first lesson, and neither can a writer. 

9. I'm unwilling to submit my work. Yes we want to write with excellence. We need to do the best we can right now, but not let perfectionism get in the way of submission. There are two truths in this industry we each need to embrace:
  • No matter how hard we try, we’ll never be perfect.
  • No matter how much we revise the piece we’re working on now, the next one will be better.
10. I think everything I write is publishable. There are going to be some things we write that just don’t fit the market—any market. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad. It could be the wrong time or place for such a piece. We need to know when to move on to the next thing.  

11. I'm unwilling to accept advice. I don’t think we should accept every single piece of advice we receive. Likewise though, I don’t think we should ignore every single piece of advice we receive. When someone

12. I'm unwilling to stop looking at myself as the exception to the rule. There are certain ways that things are done or not done in the publishing industry. There are also exceptions to almost every single instance. But there’s a reason they’re called exceptions. It’s because those specific set of circumstances rarely happen that way. It’s fine to dream and hoped, but we also have to be diligent, disciplined and do our part to make our dreams come true. 

13. I look at every other writer as my competition. There is plenty of work to be done. Especially as believers who write, God has room for each of us. We need to celebrate the successes of one another, share what we’re learning, and never gloat when things go well. 

I’m sure this list could go on and on and on. I’m at the end for me, but I’d love to hear what you’d add. Be sure to leave your thoughts in comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.Connect with her on her website, through FacebookTwitter and on Instagram.


  1. Good stuff. Have a super Thanksgiving.

  2. Edie,

    Thank you for this valuable article and the insights in it. The reality of publishing is that everyone struggles from time to time (yes I do too--even though I've published a great deal). The work some days is hard but I continue to keep my fingers on the keyboard and move forward--i.e. keep writing no matter what. I write in spite of all sorts of opposition. It's the only way it gets done and there is a reason it is called work. I do it because I know books change lives because a book changed my life.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

  3. What a great list.
    I'd been doing most of them.
    Now it is a matter of submitting and waiting.
    Great article, Edie!

  4. Edie, your article was a real eye opener for me! I am so guilty on many of the numbers - especially 3 and 6... and others! Thank you for sharing this post.... so helpful.

  5. Thank you for normalizing the discipline and energy needed to write. My first conference was 2019 - BRMCWC. I thought i learned enough. Then i sent my manuscript to an editor. Her consultation was life-changing and i'm working hard. This is my first book, and I've been to two more writing conferences. I had no idea how much i needed to learn about the craft as I keep listening to the Creator. Love your blog Edie!

  6. Thank you Edie for this post. I needed to read this today as we are a few days out from the end of BRMCWC2020. God has been speaking loudly at me to NOT let these things you have listed get in the way of my writing and ultimately, publishing. Thank you always for the encouragement.

  7. Well done, Edie! I'm printing this list and posting it in my office. Humility and hard work are the companions I want in my writing life. Thank you!

  8. I like this blog! It is really what I need right now. I am feeling so mentally and emotionally hurt. My mind is just so distracted.

  9. Thanks for bringing me face to face with the excuses I've never voiced. Now I'm responsible to address them and be honest with myself. This is liberating. Kudos

  10. Failure to pray and study God’s word can thwart our efforts to write for Him when He’s called us. Thank you for this thought-provoking list, Edie.

  11. Failure to pray and study God’s word can thwart our efforts to write for Him when He’s called us. Thank you for this thought-provoking list, Edie.

  12. Failure to pray and study God’s word can thwart our efforts to write for Him when He’s called us. Thank you for this thought-provoking list, Edie.

  13. Hi Edie,

    Thanks so much for the reminder, Edie! I’m sure a lot of us can relate to this... I know I’m definitely guilty of #9. I did fall out of writing due to a crippling amount of homework, but I rationalized that I was still writing. Time to get back on the bandwagon in 2021. Please pray as I write my new schedule once I develop curriculum for my students in December. Don’t let me abandon my writing. I have the chops for it, but it’s time for my little vacation to be over.

    Love you,

  14. We all do tend to make these excuses, so thank you for bringing them out into the light of the day so we can get down to the hard task of writing!!