Slowly, I’m progressing. The closer I come to finishing my novel, the more I realize how difficult writing a book really is.

Sometimes being a writer is discouraging. You get through the treacherous first draft, and what you see as a large milestone is only the mark of the beginning. Sometimes this thought gets me down, but I only need to remind myself how much of a challenge writing really is. Let’s be honest, it’s not supposed to be easy. If it was easy, everyone would be publishing.

So here’s a list of 11 reasons why writing a book is one of the most difficult things you’d ever do. The frustration you feel is normal, and you’ll push through it!

11. It takes forever.

Clock, Old Clock, Time, Watch, Minute

Seriously. No matter how fast you write your first draft, you still have a lot more steps to go through. Writing is different from reading a book or beating a videogame because there’s technically no end. You choose your own stopping point.

You could work on the same book for the rest of your life, and it would continue to evolve with you. The writing style would get all switched up, because it only makes sense that your style changes over time. Your book takes as long as you, yourself, want to take it. And usually, if your book is good, that takes a long time.

10. It takes dedication.

You don’t know how many people I meet who say, “Hey, I’m a writer!” I ask them how often they write, and they tell me often. I ask them how far they are into their WIP and they say I don’t remember. I ask them what the name of their protagonist is and they hum for a while because it’s slipped out of their mind over time. Or maybe they never even had one in the first place.

Anyone can call themselves a writer, but if you actually finish writing a book, that’s true dedication. You’ve gone through all the processes and worked your butt off to get there. Anyone can dream of writing a book, but only a chosen few have the stamina to get there. Whether or not you have this stamina is completely dependent on you.

9. There’s such thing as a second draft.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people assumed you could write a book in one go, do a quick proofread, and make millions of dollars off a best-seller. Writing a book usually takes a lot more effort. Weeks, but probably months of editing go in after you first finish your draft. You don’t just write a book. You write the same book five different ways. 

8. People think you have “so much free time.”

“Yeah, I’d totally write the book if I had the time!” No. You wouldn’t. Why? Because you already have the time, and have you published a book?

“Wow, you must have so much free time to be able to write a novel!” No. I don’t. Because I’m writing a book, I have no free time. You’re thinking backwards, here.

Some of the busiest people I know in my life never say they don’t have the time. Why? Because they’re productive. You can’t wait for time; you have to find it.

7. Writing [probably] makes you an emotional mess at times.

Desperate, Sad, Depressed, Feet, Hands

I set deadlines for myself a lot, that way I can continue to make progress. I’ve been frustrated by not being able to meet these deadlines and falling behind schedule. I’ve been stressed when the plot isn’t putting itself together, or when a can’t figure out how to end or start certain scenes. I’ve been mad at myself when I wasn’t in the mood to write a scene.

Writing a book not only challenges your endurance, but your emotions. Can you mentally make it through all the drafts, seeing imperfections over and over again? Not being satisfied with your work no matter how many run-throughs you perform?

6. Sometimes people don’t care.

It can be tough when no one cares about your writing projects, or that you write at all. Sometimes I tell people that I write, they say, “Cool,” and that’s the end of it. It hurts because I pour my heart and soul into writing, but they don’t understand my dedication.

I’m sure this problem comes with many other types of hobbies as well, but personally I’ve noticed people have more interest in some of my other hobbies, like music and video-editing, simply because they’re found more often.

5. You’re surrounded by doubt all the time.

You know that book you have to read for English class? Yeah, well the writing might be more eloquent than yours. You know that popular YA book you couldn’t put down? Shoot, if only you had the potential to write such a book.

Books are the main inspiration for us writers, but they also tear our hopes apart. They are also the source of doubt.

How could my writing every stand on the same shelf?

We need to force ourselves through these brilliant books and pick up on some nice writing techniques. We need to shield ourselves from doubt, even when it’s held right in our fingertips.

4. Writing always haunts your mind.

Guilt. Guilt for not writing. Guilt for not editing. Writing a book is filled with guilt. You want to finish the book so badly, but there’s so much work to be done and you hate to see yourself not finished with any of it!

The guilt is inescapable. You simply have to bear with it, and be grateful for it. After all, it helps you be more productive.

3. People don’t believe you.

Paper, Document, Business, Composition

So many people support me in my writing journey. You all on TAJ, my family, my friends…But in the end, I still feel like no one really believes in me. I have everyone’s support, but I feel they’ll never truly believe until I actually set the book right down in front of them.

You tell your friends and family you will publish your book. You will finish that first draft. Yeah, they believe you, but you feel a doubt inside, as if you still need to prove it to them.

And you will. Just give yourself time.

2. You write with no guarantee of return.

You never know if all those hours of work will come back to you. Some people abandon their novels halfway, while others may finish but choose not to publish it. However, the point of writing a book isn’t about publication, or what you get in return. You write and rewrite each and every scene to perfection simply for your own enjoyment. You pour hours of effort into a project with no guarantee of getting anything back because you enjoy it!

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like the definition of unconditional love.

1. You don’t get help.

Mountain, Highland, Valley, Ridge, Peak

You can read as many blog posts like these for inspiration, for help, for encouragement. You can ask all your beta readers what parts of the book need work, but in the end, it all comes down to you. No one is going to write this book for you. Not a blog post, not a beta reader, not a YouTube video, not that friend who gives you tips and send you writing memes. People will support you, and in a way you could call that helping, but at the same time it’s not.

They are guiding you, showing you which path you need to clear. They hand you a shovel and clippers, but the rest is for you to handle.

Remember, this post wasn’t made to discourage, but encourage. I wrote this as a reminder to all the writers out there who think they are the only ones feeling this awful frustration that comes with writing a book. You are not alone. Writing a book is difficult, and not everyone can do it, but if you believe in yourself and put in the dedication, you will succeed.

Trust in yourself more than anyone trusts in you, and keep pushing to the end.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Author Relates, Inspiration, Writer's Block

Melissa Torrefranca

Hello writers of the world! I'm Melissa, the founder / designer of Teen Authors Journal. Although I create blog posts every Tuesday at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time), I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing! I'd love to learn more about all of you, so please don't hesitate to shoot me a message! 🙂

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