1. The first weakness that affects almost every author at some point in their writing trajectory is perhaps the most troubling. No matter how dedicated or creative, how well organized or determined, it is difficult not to suffer from the weakness of needing money to survive. Having a job simply takes up time, and that time would be better spent writing for most writers. Imagine how fabulous it would be to decide what days and what times of day we would write without having to worry about being thrown out of our apartments or homes. Consider how much more you could write if there were no bills to be paid at all! It amazes me that so few advice columns do not address this simple but important weakness that affects so many of us who have not yet become independently wealthy, are not successful gold-diggers, or who haven’t had our writing made into a wildly successful Hollywood blockbuster. So obvious yet so easy to forget
2. Other people are the second weakness in many writer’s lives. Maybe you live with family members. Maybe you made a family. Or you are in an intimate relationship with one or more other people, or trying to be. Or maybe you are isolated and alone and wishing you were in a relationship with someone else. Or you have, I hate to say it, friends with needs. Even superficial needs – like making lunch for a child or talking on the phone with a pal – can really cut into writing time. Just think about how much more writing you could do if you neither had people around you nor cared to. All the people in your creative mind could come out on paper and make you gloriously prolific. Sure, life experience and socialization are important for content, they say, but we’d write a lot more if instead of having that experience we were writing about it.
3. The final limitation in most people’s writing life is thinking time. Even if we got someone else to support us and that someone required absolutely nothing whatsoever of us, we have to think before we write. Even if we eliminate both the lived experience of work and that of relationships, consider all that wasted time coming up with ideas, creating imagined scenarios, well-developed characters, and that terrible bugaboo, plot. Worse yet if you care about such matters as logic, vivid and precise language, or originality. How much we could write if we just didn’t have to think anything through! (And there are authors who have mastered this weakness; we’ve all read them.)
Now that I’ve illuminated these stumbling blocks, I must confess I have no easy solution. It took long hours of thought I might have spent on my own novel just figuring this all out. And then vital minutes I could have devoted to editing that story with a looming deadline. In the end, it is up to each of us to create our own answers, to blaze our trail despite them, to recognize and obliterate all that may be holding us back from success at NaNoWriMo or finishing that epic autobiography. As we fight the good fight, fellow authors, we must carry on…as often as possible.