Stressed Out

The Top 13 Nightmare Struggles All Writers Can Relate To

Ah, to be a writer! Creating your own world; sharing the joy, laughter, and/or tears of your characters; and seeing the characters who’ve become your best friends have a happy ending that you created, (unless you’re George R. R. Martin of course.)


Whether you’re writing for fun, just beginning to reach for your dream, or you’re already well-known, being a writer is awesome!


There are, however, some things that come with job that are true horrors for a writer. If you write often or are already in the professional business, you probably already know what we’re talking about. So just in time for the holiday that’s all about fear, let’s count down writer’s thirteen worst nightmares! Happy Halloween! Mwahahaha!




13. Procrastination


We’ve all been there. One minute you’re thinking, “How can I write if there’s dust in my kitchen?” Thus, the writing is delayed so Mr. Clean can get some attention. “It’s the middle of the day; I have to check the mailbox. The writing can wait a few moments”, is what you’ll be saying next.And then all of a sudden, “Oh boy, I feel such a headache coming on from staring at this computer for so long. Time to take a nap!”


The hell-raising curse of procrastinating can control even the best of us!  As Charles Dickens said, “My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”


By the end of the day, this will be you!


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12. Other people seeing your online searches and judging you for it (especially if your a horror/mystery novelist)

Google won’t judge you for searching how to destroy body parts with acid, but I think most human beings will. “We’ve spent so much time judging what other people created that we’ve created very, very little of our own.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Choke


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11. You’ve finally found an original idea only to learn, it’s been done before!


Thought you came up with that amazing idea before it was cool? Think again! As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.”


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10. Not finding any time to write!


You finally have an original idea with more detailed ideas on the way, but there is just too much going on in life that you can’t even do what you love! That definitely sounds like a nightmare to me! “Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” ― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance


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9. Being distracted by newer projects, a.k.a. Shiny New Idea Syndrome


You’re really starting to make a dent in a book you’ve been working on, but can’t ignore the call of this new “shiny idea” you just came up with!  You abandon your book to work on the “shiny idea”, but more ideas keep popping into your head, repeatedly distracting you from finishing anything!


Juggling a multitude of stories may sound like a good idea, but it’s better to actually finish a story, then move on to the next! “What you stay focused on will grow.” ― Roy T. Bennett


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8. When you can picture exactly what you want to write, but you’re at a loss for words.


You have everything down to the smallest detail, but when you finally get to writing your scene…it’s…umm…er…words are hard. Let’s just leave it at that. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


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7. Telling people that you’re a writer and then being asked to show your work.


Some people like to boast that they are a writer, others are a little too anxious to talk about it. For most people though, showing their work as a writer can be the most terrifying thing to do! But take heart from this quote from E. Lockhart…


“Always do what you’re afraid to do.

I will prove myself strong when they think I am sick.
I will prove myself brave when they think I am weak.”
― E. Lockhart, We Were Liars


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6. Not being able to explain your book


So you’ve just finished you’re newest novel and are dying to tell someone about it! But then comes the inevitable question, “what is your book about?” Unless you have a written up blurb stored in your memory bank, many writers fumble over their words and look like they have no idea what they’re talking about, even if they’ve been working for months or years!

This can be the worst and most embarrassing feeling!


“You got the eggs in you; the world is fully ready to celebrate the chicks out of your laying labour. Never give up. Go and breed! Go and breed great dreams.”
― Israelmore Ayivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes


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5. Coming up with a great idea, but not writing it down in time.


A brilliant idea suddenly pops into your head! Some people take their sweet, sweet time in jotting it down: huge mistake! But even for the people who charge over to the nearest note pad, sacrificing life and death just to keep this astounding new thought, memory can be a fickle friend. “The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche


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4. Perfectionism


When you have at last overcome the final chapter of writing your book, that means its time for proofreading!

And if you struggle with perfectionism, like many do, just one itty-bitty word that just doesn’t flow might make you want to BURN IT ALL DOWN! “But I am learning that perfection isn’t what matters. In fact, it’s the very thing that can destroy you if you let it.”
― Emily Giffin, Something Borrowed


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3. Losing the one copy you had of your book / Not saving your progress


Just imagine. You finally finished your book. Months or years spent researching, writing, drafting and editing.Then you somehow lose everything! Hopefully, you all remember to keep spare flash drives. “There is only one kind of shock worse than the totally unexpected: the expected for which one has refused to prepare.”― Mary Renault, The Charioteer


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2. Writer’s Block


Just the word alone makes me cringe! It is the worst feeling staring at a blank screen and a blank mind! Hilary Mantel says: “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” So what is it that could be so much more horrifying and fearsome than all the nightmares we’ve listed above?


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And finally… Drumroll please!


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A writer’s number one, worst nightmare has got to be…


1. Your inner critic driving you crazy


We all have that inner critic that likes to comment on every little thing we do. The same is said especially for writing!

“No one will ever want to read this”

“This book is never going anywhere”

“You aren’t good enough”


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The inner critic says it all, and causes many other nightmare struggles, including the temptation to give up. There are moments when it is stronger and harsher than normal though, and those can be the lowest moments when writing. We are all our own worst enemy.


“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.”
― Beverly Engel, The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused — And Start Standing Up for Yourself




These are truly nightmares to deal with as a writer, but I hope that didn’t scare anyone away from chasing their dreams. As frightening as these struggles are there are ways to work around them! There are dark times in every profession, in every choice, and all over the world! Dark clouds are unavoidable, but just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t lying in wait to hug you with warmth when the storm is over! There will be a silver lining coming soon! Here are some quotes to help!


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou


“Keep Going

Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


“Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It



So never give up, believe in your dreams because they are worth all the struggles and nightmares when all is said and done.


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