314 Comments

Promoting my writing! I can navigate the natural ebbs and flows of writing but once it's published I experience incredible anxiety when it's time to market the fruits of my labor. 😩

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Balancing my creative writing with a full time, writing-intensive desk job. It's a lot of time spent sitting in my chair and typing sentences! I actually wrote about the struggle in my most recent newsletter: https://sorelatable.substack.com/p/the-only-way-to-get-anywhere-is-by

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Balancing personal wellbeing and productivity. All the writing books seem to say, "write everyday", "overcome resistance", but it's a hard world, especially when you're writing on top of a full time job. The best advice I've found has been on substack: try The Reading (yanyi.substack.com), which is all about having radical empathy for yourself as a writer.

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Editing. I come from a punk music background. The aesthetic was loud, fast and unpolished. There wasn't a lot of tweaking after the song was written. My writing tends to have the same style, and I have to force myself to go back and polish/edit/rewrite/tweak. And honestly, often I don't. I just kick it out of the nest/off the stage.

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Talking about, sharing, promoting my writing. It's WHY I started a newsletter -- to share what I know and love about children's book and creating a culture of reading in people's homes -- and yet I struggle with imposter syndrome + Midwestern nice (which is also Midwestern modesty).

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Hard: dealing with doubt with longer writing projects.

Solution: get incremental positive feedback along the way with smaller writing projects and wins.

Example: Working on a novel. Lots of doubt, long process, no positive feed-back loops.

Solution: Write short content pieces for my audience that deal with adjacent topics. Get great feedback. Use that energy to keep going on the novel.

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I don't write often. And every time I sit down to write, I am constantly faced with the thoughts that there are better writers out there and the stuff those people are writing are going to be equal if not better than what I am about to write.

The result of this thinking inevitably is that lots of days, even though I sit down to write. I don't let my thoughts flow as I am constantly picking holes in them.

I still haven't gotten around to solving this problem completely. Now, I try and make sure that for a period of like 20 minutes, I won't hit backspace/edit no matter what.

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Too many ideas all at once.

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It's more of an existential thing... I find it hard to sum up the energy to write literally anything because it just seems/feels (etc) like no one cares anymore. And writing, while a joy, is still something that forces me to expend significant emotional energy. I don't think anyone owes me anything, and I don't think readers owe writers anything more than their attention when they're asked for it, but, like, it's hard to bleed on the page when everything has been reduced to #content. Maybe this makes sense, maybe it doesn't...

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Self-promotion and crafting an audience. I've already leapt the hurdle of creativity and I've never suffered from a lack from ideas. I have spreadsheets and documents and notebooks full of plot threads, essay arguments, and schedules of posts in the can ready to go. But quietly, almost silently, in the back of my head, there's a little whisper that says: "Does anyone really give a shit?" Ignoring that voice and connecting with readers is the hard part. My goal for 2021 is to give my impostor syndrome a firm middle finger and promote myself more. Right now, I write about alternative music and I treat my newsletter like the punk zines and DIY magazines I used to collect and devour. If that sounds like something for you, then please check out https://thepitchofdiscontent.substack.com/ and let me know what you think.

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Discipline of writing every day. I started a weekly fiction newsletter on substack to fix that 🤓

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While writing a newsletter about my community, I struggle with the need to maintain a positive and civic minded tone, with the desire to be sarcastic and snarky.

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Hard to type with paws

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Getting paid for accepted and published work. I've tried everything shy of becoming Tony Soprano! :D

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Grammatical clutter and unproductive digressions. My only solution is repeated re-writes, usually three, to clear out the "that's and whiches," the semicolons and conditional prepositions to always point back toward simple declarative sentences. I often ask myself, "how would Hemingway say this?" Not that I want to be derivative of Hemingway; but I digress...:-)

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To tell the truth I spent so much time in my life not writing that I feel like the floodgates have opened and the process presents few difficulties. The biggest problem I have to deal with is how to work around my terrible day job.

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I try to include something personal in everything I write. That's a double edged sword. While it makes my writing more authentic, it can often be personally painful. I talk through the difficulty with close friends and my therapist. That will provide me the necessary support to carry on and finish my work.

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The first 80% is delightful. The last 20% is agony.

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How to keep going when the initial shine of an idea wears off and I start to question/hate it. It's hard to weigh putting down that piece for awhile vs pushing through.

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Sitting down and getting it done. Once I do it’s a pleasure. What’s needed now is discipline!

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Not having a directory of writers on substack, which means less subscribers for me and my colleagues.

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connecting ideas - I like to collect a bunch of inter-connected ideas and form a point of view before I write - and usually my notes will reach a critical mass and then the essay will come to me - but I struggle with a way to organize / collate links and actually evolve the thread from idea to post - my current solution is just draft articles that keep getting longer

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The anxiety. I often wonder if anyone thinks the same way I do. Will anyone want to read what I think about anything? I most times overcome it and just write anyway. I'm new to Substack and it does feel good to know that I am not alone.

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When I start to conceive of myself as a subject distinct from the "wave in the mind" (as Virginia Woolf would say), when I start to analyze the fact that I'm analyzing my experience.

Leaving space in the days for stillness/meditation so that I can ride the wave, whenever it comes.

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I am not sure if struggle is the right word, but I find I must walk through the entire story in my head before putting the words in writing or else it wont happen

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Distraction!!!! I promote my writing almost solely on Instagram, and fighting the urge to doom scroll tests my willpower daily. Setting app limits helps! I also remind myself, "There is nothing more interesting on here than in real life," and I'm quickly deterred.

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I struggle with collecting ideas from books which I have been reading these days. I know all different approaches for note-taking, including Zettlekasten method and others. However, since I get to read multiple books (of different genres) in parallel (for example, on my way to work or when I find some free time, however it's not possible mostly to sit down and take formal notes). Since, we happen to continue from bookmarked page, I get to finish the book, however at last I am not able to make a summary of full big pictures, ideas presented, gaps in the material which I read in the book. I thought of copying material from table of contents or chapter headings or highlighted paragraphs, however that doesn't seem a reasonable approach. Could anyone please share their insightful suggestion on this part?

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As a writer, I find the process of writing to be the most challenging thing I do.

For one, there’s the trap of perfectionism, which effectively disguises itself as writer’s block.

Secondly, I am apprehensive about writing personal essays as my readership grows, although that’s the very basis of my writing.

I haven’t yet found a way to make it easier. Suggestions are welcome!

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Just write - the ideas flow. Don't look back at the first draft. It's just that...a draft!

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it's not the writing process that kills me...

... it's the the break-neck speed at which people react to my writing and eviscerate me online.

( ˇ෴ˇ )

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Writing daily, publishing consistently, and promoting my writing constantly.

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I get side-tracked and fall to writer's block and frustration fairly easily, so I sometimes treat a writing effort like darning a virtual hole. I try to get the big anchoring stitches in place in the form of a sort of outline, then fill in the spaces with the more detailed finishing stitches in the form of rough thoughts where they seem to fit best. By the end of it, I generally have a pretty good rough draft that only needs a few tweaks and fine-tuning.

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Transcribing interviews. It's such a chore, I stopped doing it and instead developed by own shorthand, and honed my memory so I could recall all details from my written prompts.

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That I sound like a completely uniformed idiot despite studying and researching. The internet is so vast that you’d think the stuff I fling out would get lost like a tear in rain.... yet someone who knows more about what I wrote always finds me....

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Quieting the voice in my head that says whatever I'm writing is just a hot, sloppy plate of garbage and I should hide it under the rug forever so no one else finds it accidentally.

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My biggest hurdle is making time for writing while managing at-home learning for two high school age teenagers! I usually end up writing in the wee hours of the morning when everything’s quiet. Also, although I have over 10k followers on Twitter but I never seem to get the engagement I’d like.

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Beginnings. You have one paragraph to get their attention and keep it. It has to be the tightest, most well-written part of the entire piece. Without this, the rest doesn't matter.

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I tend to approach telling a story the same way. I had an idea and just followed it where it wanted to go, and this is how it ended up. https://blackiowanews.substack.com/p/karen-jolted-awake?r=5wrla&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

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So far I've found motivation and patience to be my toughest obstacles in writing.

Sitting down to write is hard. You can feel like you need to be in the correct mood or groove in order to write anything good. Blocking off time in my schedule to write no matter what was really helpful. Start small and build a routine gradually. Like going from a couple times a week for a while and scaling up from there. You don't have to use everything you write. So if you're not in the groove to find the right words during your writing time, just open a new doc or flip to a fresh page and write something else that day.

I also found that I wanted to share everything I wrote and impress people and get feedback. It is important to feel seen and validated in your efforts, but I was conflicted because my early attempts were not as strong and polished as I would have liked. Falling back on my process a little bit, I was able to write for myself (with an audience in mind) and content myself with the occasional review of a trusted literary friend instead of always rushing to get my writing in front of an audience. Eventually, if you care about your writing and work hard to refine it, you'll reach a point where you simply know you're proud of something you've done and be excited to show it off.

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I don't think writing is a hard process. if you write about something you're genuinely passionate about then ideas will come naturally. Do checkout my newsletter at https://startupsintech.substack.com/

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Getting started. I feel like getting started is overwhelming but once I start writing I get in the flow quickly.

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Consistency! Which may well be linked to my tendency to expect too much from a first draft? Hmmm...

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I struggle with style and verbosity. To make it easier I use writing software that helps me reduce unnecessary words.

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Finding my voice was hard. Discovering what I wanted to write about and why. Once I got to that place, finding the time, motivation and inspiration became much easier

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When I read through what I have written, I always try to determine at what point will I lose the reader's undivided attention. At that point I find myself constantly revising in hopes that the whole post captivates them.

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I am uncertain how to edit posted articles.

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editing (i really often feel way too close to my own work--it's hard for me to tell what needs "fixing" even after i set it aside for a while) and promoting. twitter does not feel or come naturally to me; i prefer building community on things like discord, so i'm trying to leverage that for sharing my work. and i'm also going to try using instagram once i get a repository of my work set up online!

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