The Challenges and Opportunities of a Writer’s Life

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

A writer’s life doesn’t fit the 9-5 mold of most of the working world. Challenges smack us in the face, and we must be ready to evaluate what we are doing right and what we are doing less-than-best. An attitude of looking at life’s hiccups as an opportunity puts an optimistic spin on our mental and physical wellbeing.

Sometimes we need to step back, evaluate our habits, and when necessary, make changes that will help us be successful in our writing career.

Ask yourself: Is my current work-process, tools, or environment a help or hindrance to my success?

For instance, turn these challenges into opportunities:
  1. My desk is covered with to-do notes that need to be completed then tossed.
  2. My stack of papers is duplicated electronically. Where is the shredder?
  3. My to-be-read stack is taller than I am. Time to prioritize and give away.
  4. My pile of magazines is five years old. Do I honestly need them? Can I subscribe to them online?
  5. My laptop needs updating. Time to explore and research a replacement.
At times a bad decision has the potential to create havoc, like saying yes when we should say no. Again, turn that challenge into an opportunity to grow into a better writer.
  1. Is my reader’s blog unique, interesting, or do I need more _______ ? (fill in the blank).
  2. How do I determine the number of writer conferences to attend in 2022?
  3. How many writer conferences or speaking engagements should I accept in 2022?
  4. Am I spending enough quality time with my spouse and family?
  5. Am I spending enough quality time with my friends?
  6. Am I keeping God first place in my spiritual, mental, and physical life?
  7. Is my quiet time taking me spiritually deeper?
  8. My latest book is completed. Do I send it to my editor or read it through one more time?
  9. How many fiction and nonfiction books should I be reading per month?
  10. Am I spending too much time being unproductive?
  11. Are the blog posts I’m reading adding value to my professional career?
  12. What can I do differently or change in 2022 that honors my God-given calling?
How do I gauge if a challenge is an opportunity or a problem?
  1. Will the situation help me be a better writer?

Our skills need to grow as though we are in a perpetual state of learning. Nothing of value is free, either time or financial investment. Some of the items that strengthen our skills are reading the how-to books, reading bestsellers, attending conferences, editing our work, mentoring a serious writer, and taking advantage of online blogs, podcasts, and webinars.

  1. Will the situation help me grow spiritually?

Many writers believe their work is a form of worship. If you are one of these writers, then deepening your relationship with God may require reprioritization or more time. Is a Christian writer strong enough to stand up for his/her beliefs?

  1. Will the situation help my readers?

Successful writers don’t create for themselves but for readers so they will be entertained, inspired, and encouraged. Reaching readers is an effort. Sometimes it’s frustrating and mistakes are made. But when writers explore what readers need and where they hang out on social media, we can join the conversation and contribute to what they are looking for.

Perhaps our obstacles should be viewed as opportunities that build our credibility as professionals. How do you approach the challenges in your life?