How to Navigate the Roadblocks of Creative Writing
Let’s face it. Storytelling and creative writing is a labor of love. Nobody chooses to be a writer because the money’s good. The vast majority of writers out there perfectly fit the description of the starving artist to such an accurate degree that it might as well have it’s own classification. Most storytellers have day jobs ranging from manual labor to CEO. Many do it as a hobby and don’t really show anyone their work. Maybe they show some friends or family, and maybe they lavish praise or offer helpful suggestions to help improve. They have come a long way, but might be held back by some of the roadblocks of creative writing.
The roadblocks of creative writing are many.
It’s hard work being a writer, particularly an inexperienced writer. Maybe your grammar’s not up-to-snuff. It’s possible your vocabulary needs to be expanded. It could be you suffer from the dreaded storyteller’s malady of having six different stories with a first chapter, but not one with a second. Perhaps you have six different chapter ones for the same story and there’s still something not quite right with each of them. What if your characters are bland, flat and uninteresting? Or maybe you’re just not very good.
And even if you’re one of the people who overcome these maladies and actually finish a novel, a screenplay, a tabletop role-playing campaign, what comes next? You can shop it around to traditional publishers. But who are you, anyway? You’ve not got a single publication to your name. You have no following. That will considerably lower your chances of getting picked up by a publisher. As many have said, getting traditionally published as a first-time author is comparable to winning the lottery.
So in lieu of waiting around, maybe you do what so many writers are doing today: Indie Publishing. Either self-publishing or publishing through a service like Amazon Kindle. So maybe you go through a long, arduous process of formatting and preparing and waiting for approval and get it out. Now you’ve gone from writer to author. That’s a major milestone.
And they keep stacking up.
But then you now face another problem. Sure, you’ve just published your book, and for a short time you were the newest book on Amazon. The problem is that time was only about five minutes. Maybe you signed up for Amazon Select and allowed people to read it for free. Only… a week has passed and nobody has read it. You wrack your brain. Did the story suck? No, you poured your heart and soul into it. The story’s solid! But people just aren’t reading it, or maybe they’re reading it, but not reviewing it. Could be that they’re reviewing it, but it’s not selling. Or maybe it’s selling, but it’s not even breaking even. Perhaps it’s doing all of these things in spite of all the careful planning you did, or the launch blueprint that you followed.
And then you repeat ad infinitum.
In rare cases, everything goes amazingly. A person’s first book can become wildly successful. But that’s about as likely as winning the lottery. But nobody looking to write for the money would willingly put themselves through these things.
If I sound fatalistic, that’s intentional. I’ve seen so many authors I know go through this process, and I’ve seen it take the wind out of their sails. Many of these roadblocks of creative writing are the type that I have experienced myself.
But there’s good news.
The thing to remember is that each of these roadblocks have a secondary role in your personal development, and it’s a good one. Each of them has a giant glowing neon sign signalling that they are a problem that can be overcome. At all levels of expertise in writing, there are going to be learning opportunities. Perhaps you fell flat on your face. It could be that you just can’t nail that first chapter. Maybe your book launch was a failure… but maybe it wasn’t a total loss. It’s possible that you’ve earned one or two true fans during this process. Perhaps you learned how to nail that first chapter. You might have taken the time to research, plan and execute your next launch. Could be that you learned the importance of an email list and poured the same amount of soul you pour into your writing into building one.
But most importantly, you learn to realize that you’ve overcome numerous adversarial blocks to get to where you are, and you’ve been able to overcome them to the point where they are no longer as big of a concern. You’ve invested hundreds, if not thousands of hours dedicated to your craft. The further you get, the more roadblocks of creative writing you discover, and each one is more difficult to the last. Sometimes we even experience roadblocks of creative writing that are entirely unique to the author as an individual or the genre they’re writing for.
At TaleBlend, it’s our intention to help creative storytellers find strategies to break through each of these roadblocks of creative writing, no matter how unique. We’ll pull no punches, and we’ll build up storytellers to have the tools to face any of these problems in-hand.
You’re already determined to succeed.
If you’re reading this sentence, you’ve already more than proven that you have the determination to be an author, and that is the main lesson here. We wanted to show you an example of just how hard it can be to show you that you’re determined. You already have that in you, and that’s the most important part. That’s the only ingredient needed to overcome any of the other barriers. We can get knocked down, but we’ll always get back up.
Why? Because we love the craft of storytelling. It’s because we want to tell great stories and touch people’s souls. We want our stories to influence and move people. We want to inspire change. And most importantly, we want to do what we love, and we’re willing to do the work to achieve that.