Redefining north.

Notes from Crew Quarters: Writing Struggles

Notes from Crew Quarters: Writing Struggles


This week, Ethan Brightbill asked our editors what they struggle with most in their writing.

Hayley Fitz, Associate Fiction Editor

I have a hard time settling down long enough to describe things, especially settings. My writing is usually pretty voice-y, and I zoom through scenes with dialogue and action, so it's tough for me to find a natural way to be like, oh, also, they're in a morgue right now, that is probably a notable thing.

Ashley Adams, Associate Nonfiction Editor

Titles are hard.

Brenna Womer, Associate Fiction Editor

I always get stuck in the revision process. Pacing or organization will eat at me for days, and I'll end up using backspace just to avoid the problem. I've learned to save multiple copies to protect my writing from me.

Jacob Hall, Associate Fiction Editor

I have a difficult time with plot. I love writing characters and putting thoughts in their heads. I enjoy setting a scene and exploring the peculiarities of a place, but, damn it, I suppose something has to happen, too.

Jason Teal Associate Fiction Editor

There's the actual writing, but I'd say the second sentence is where my fears fall. The first sentence can live on in perpetuity in my document, and I can feign contentment with that bit. But that second sentence really seals it, this is a draft, time to go, get anything out of this, and then I crumble, talk myself down from the high of writing, must build my spirits back up.

So, that second sentence. It can break me. I don't know. It's a roller coaster.

Jacqueline Boucher, Managing Editor

You know that really beautiful trait in young writers where they create raw, magic sentences by virtue of gutting themselves and bleeding all over the page? That amazing phase we spend years and years honing into something that's a little more practiced, a little more nuanced, and a little less emotionally devastating to go through? Yeah, I never progressed past that phase, and as a result, writing is a really taxing process...which means it goes very slow.

Sarah Wenman David, Associate Fiction Editor

Convincing myself that I really do need to write at least a little every day. Maintaining a balance between over-editing a piece and polishing it enough so that I can handle it seeing the light of day. Also, I struggle with dialogue in shorter pieces--trying to figure out what I really need and what's taking up space in a short story.

Colton Lindsey, Associate Fiction Editor

I believe my greatest struggle when it comes to my writing would be beating the resistance that tells me it's okay to not write that day. Every writer feels this urge at one point or another, but for me resistance is as real and present as a good friend would be. The act of setting aside the time, saying "No" to resistance, and putting pen to paper makes all the difference.

Alexander Clark, Associate Nonfiction Editor

Letting the first draft be a rough draft and avoiding the urge to make it perfect. I've learned that you can't grow as a writer and try new things if you spend too much time editing before you've had a chance to put it all down on a page.

The Emperor Has No Balls, by Lindsey Thäden

The Emperor Has No Balls, by Lindsey Thäden

Waasnode Fiction Prize Contest Announcement!

Waasnode Fiction Prize Contest Announcement!