| 03.20.2018

The challenges of craft – Struggles that writers know all too well


I am a writer. I love to create characters and tell stories with them. As fun as that is, sometimes it can be a pain in the butt. That”s why I”ve come up with a list of the ultimate struggles that writers such as myself have come to know, hate and roll their eyes at, no matter how effective they are.

Bradley Burgess

Writer”s Block can be your friend

Whether you”re writing a feature length screenplay or a term paper, everyone has faced writer”s block. You know you”ve met a writer if you”ve ever seen them literally banging their head against the wall. My lesson is that sometimes, writer”s block can be a blessing in disguise. Recently, I had difficulty coming up with a story idea, so I wrote a story about a guy who can”t come up with a story. Pushing through the proverbial pain of coming up blank is key.

Save everything, no matter how stupid

  If you”re a writer, odds are you”ve come up with an idea and said, “That”s so stupid.” You”ve probably crumpled up thousands of pieces of paper and thrown them in the trash. Well, let me tell you something: that can be a costly mistake. I”ve thrown out thousands of ideas and more often than not, I”ve come back to them a few months later, and realized how secretly great that idea was. If you think something”s dumb, work through it, change it, or get a second opinion on it. That idea could turn out really great. Another favorite trick of mine is to combine two separate ideas I thought were stupid and mash them together into a great story.

Inspiration has no schedule

Writers are flexible people. We can roll with the punches, especially when inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime. Most times, that will be at three in the morning, or in the middle of a class lecture where you have no access to computers. Sometimes, you”ll have a great dream that you”ll want to write down the instant you wake up. Sometimes, you”ll see a passing car that reminds you of a spaceship and you”ll think of a story to write about it. The point is that you need to be on your toes when that “Aha” moment does hit. Commit it to memory, write it in your phone, or talk through it with a buddy. You”ll be glad you did.

There”s no such thing as a final draft

Deadlines are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it could motivate you to get stuff done faster. But in my case, if there”s something that needs to be done by a certain date, you”ll start second guessing your decisions too little too late. I can”t tell you how painful it is to submit something and five minutes later, realize that you had a better ending in mind. When it comes to wrapping things up, set aside some time to think through your story or project and make sure you”re happy with everything. If not, better realize that now rather than two days after you”ve handed it in.

Bradley Burgess can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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