Surviving The Writing Experience

I have encountered many aspiring writers who face challenges while working on their manuscripts and I am one of them. Writing a book is a significant undertaking that requires discipline, patience, and perseverance. However, many writers struggle with various pitfalls that hinder their progress.

One of the most common challenges writers face is writer’s block. This occurs when the writer cannot think of new ideas or struggles to put their thoughts into words. Writer’s block can be frustrating and demotivating, leading to procrastination and loss of momentum.

I’m looking in the mirror here, so to speak, but some writers are their own worst enemy. I’m talking about that annoying condition called self-doubt. Doubting yourself and your writing abilities is, unfortunately, a hurdle writers face. It can lead to anxiety, a lack of confidence, and even writer’s block. As writers, we can struggle to believe in ourselves and our work. This can cause us to second-guess our ideas or even abandon of our projects altogether.

Making time to write can be a perpetual problem. Let’s face it, balancing writing with other responsibilities such as work, family, and social life can also be a challenge. It can be hard to find time to write consistently, and the pressure to manage multiple responsibilities can affect the quality of writing.

Looking for a solution? Fortunately, there are a few solutions to these writer’s struggles. One of the most effective ways to combat writer’s block is to take a break from writing and engage in other creative activities. This can stimulate new ideas and provide fresh perspectives. Time management is helpful–in fact, crucial. Set realistic deadlines, prioritize writing time, learn to say no to distractions. Make writing a priority. Setting a routine and writing every day can help build discipline and improve your writing skills.

Overcoming self-doubt can be tricky but victory can be achieved by focusing on your writing strengths. Don’t be so hard on yourself, we all go through it; give yourself the right to stray from the writer’s path so practice self-compassion. Try setting achievable goals and allow yourself to celebrate small victories along the way. Joining a writing group or seeking feedback from other writers can help boost confidence and provide constructive criticism.

I think with these solutions in mind, we writers and aspiring writers can overcome these hurdles and complete our manuscripts and other writing projects with confidence.

The Importance Of Reading

I not only read but also write—short stories, poems, and murder mystery novels. My work is nothing super special, but it’s mine. I like to think it is an avenue providing escape, relaxation, entertainment, and a certain amount of pleasure to my readers. Sadly, book readership in America is declining, and I find that fact a bit depressing for several reasons, not the least of which is book sales. Beyond a personal business perspective, I am concerned for the long-term effects on society. Those effects can be devastating.

People Who Read Are Smarter

It’s true. People who read are, by in large, smarter. Why? Because reading is an essential skill that plays a vital role in personal and societal development. People who read books are often less ignorant about people, places, and things than people who don’t. Reading signifies a baseline intelligence, and careful choices of reading material may enhance that intelligence. Reading allows individuals to expand their knowledge, improve cognitive abilities and imagination, and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. Reading for pleasure also provides an enjoyable and relaxing way to unwind and escape from the stresses of daily life. However, the statistics show reading for pleasure is becoming less common among Americans. According to ThinkImpact’s Literacy Statistics,  in 2004, 28% of Americans age 15 and older read for pleasure on a given day. Last year, in 2022, the figure was about 19%. This decline in reading for pleasure is concerning and highlights the importance of encouraging and promoting reading among individuals of all ages.

Not Reading Has Considerable Downsides

Illiteracy is a significant problem in the United States, with 21% of adults being illiterate in 2022, and 54% having a literacy level below 6th grade. Illiteracy not only hinders the personal growth and development of individuals, but also has a detrimental effect on society. Low levels of literacy lead to a lack of workforce productivity, increased poverty, and higher crime rates. Studies have shown that illiterate individuals are more likely to be unemployed, have lower earning potential, and be dependent on government assistance. Furthermore, they are more likely to end up in prison, have poor health outcomes, and be unable to fully participate in society.

The cost of illiteracy is staggering, with some estimates suggesting that it costs the US up to $2.2 trillion per year. This highlights the importance of addressing the problem of illiteracy and investing in programs that promote literacy and reading. These programs include adult literacy programs, English as a second language classes, and programs that provide children with access to books and reading materials.

I have no doubt reading is an essential skill that plays a vital role in personal and societal development. However, the decline in reading for pleasure among Americans and the high levels of illiteracy in the US do not bode well for the future. I believe it is crucial to encourage and promote reading among individuals of all ages and invest in programs and activities promoting literacy and reading. By addressing the problem of illiteracy, we can improve the productivity of our workforce, reduce poverty, and create a more educated and engaged society.

And, while we are on the subject, what have you read lately?

We Are More Significant Than We Might Believe

Books and other acquired objects in our lives often hold memories of places, life’s better moments, dear friends, and loved ones. I’ve found the most lasting memories are those attached to things gifted to us by others.

My library shelves overflow with books—some found, many gifted, all treasured. They are an archive for my memories of travels with friends and loved ones and adventures big and small.

But books are not alone in the memory department.

I still have and use a large coffee cup given me many years ago by dear friends, one of whom has passed. But every time I pull that cup from the cupboard, I’m reminded of the gift of friendship and the good times we shared.

I have no way of knowing if compliments or a kind word I’ve given ever made a positive impact, or if my silly humor made someone smile when they were feeling down.

But I don’t really need to know, do I? I just need to know that I tried.

Bradbury’s Writing Inspiration

No doubt we are living through despairing times. Many writers, myself included, find it difficult to concentrate on writing with our minds focused sharply on current events.

One of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, used writing as an escape. This quote by him is inspirational, even motivational.

Bradbury quote



Elmore Had It Right.

Slogging along on a manuscript or other piece of writing? Taking longer to finish than you expected? Exhausted trying to complete that description, paragraph, sentence, scene, dialogue, or other story element? Mr. Leonard just might have been on to something when it comes to writing.

Elmore And Writing

Elmore Leonard (October 11th, 1925 – August 20th, 2013)  was a novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter. His earliest novels were westerns but he didn’t limit his work to that genre. Among his best-known works are “Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight,” “Hombre,” “Mr. Majestyk,” “Rum Punch” (adapted as the film “Jackie Brown”), and short stories that became the films “3:10 to Yuma” and “The Tall T,” as well as the FX television series, “Justified.” 

California’s New Law Affects Writers

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I don’t live in California but I do write and this post from Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware Blog with reference to an article from Authors Guild makes for interesting reading especially if you are an independent, free-lance writer.

This state law now requires companies to provide both protections and benefits for free-lance workers, including writers. As a result, many free-lance writers’ contracts have been terminated.

If you live in New York or New Jersey, be aware these two states are considering similar laws.

In some cases, this law also applies to book writers.

Take a moment and visit Victoria’s post to learn more.

The Antonym Of Serendipity


I recently encountered this word I’d not seen or heard before, so I looked it up.

According to the folks at WorldWideWords:

“So what is the opposite of Serendip, a southern land of spice and warmth, lush greenery and hummingbirds, seawashed, sunbasted? Think of another world in the far north, barren, icebound, cold, a world of flint and stone. Call it Zembla. Ergo: zemblanity, the opposite of serendipity, the faculty of making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries by design. Serendipity and zemblanity: the twin poles of the axis around which we revolve…

Zemblanity hasn’t achieved mainstream status, though Mr Justice Michael Peart used it in a legal judgment in Ireland in 2012 and it has been borrowed as the title of a bit of madcap physical theatre, which was performed, for example, at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.”