Wouldn't we always like to have a smooth and even writing path, so that we could skip happily along, singing zippity-do-dah, zippity-day?

The reality, however, is that we hardly ever have a completely level path. Usually we stumble forward, tripping over one rock or another. We pick ourselves up and plod ahead some more. Sometimes we even hit a boulder and are forced to stop for a time.

Let's face it. The writer's path is full of obstacles, both large and small. Here are a few:

Internal obstacles are the things within us that slow us down:

  • Tiredness (from sleep deprivation, exhausting days, overload of work)

  • Sickness (short term illness, injury, or long term chronic issue)

  • Depression or moodiness (PMS, situational, pyschological)

  • Other emotional issues (anxiety, grief, guilt)

External obstacles are the things from without that impede our progress:

  • Distractions (blogs, emails, kids, cats, the list is endless. . .)

  • Interruptions (noise, company, phone, vacation, the list is endless. . .)

  • The Unexpected (death of a family member, loss of paying job, divorce)

  • Busy Life (activities, demands and needs of others)

What obstacles have you faced on the writing path? What has slowed you down? Has anything stopped you for a time?

We all have traveled a rocky road at some point. In the next post we'll talk more about how we can get past our obstacles. But for now let me leave you with this encouragement:

There is One who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy. Jude 1:24

P.S. The votes for the Playlist were half and half! But almost unanimously everyone said I should do what makes me happy. You all are so sweet!


  1. Obstacles...too many of them, in my opinion! I started my WIP last summer while off work (I work for an elementary school in the office) When school got going, was worked 10 hour days sometimes 6 days a week for the first month getting kids registered. After things settled, my son got married...lots of work there. Now life is in a huge upheaval and sometimes the emotional turmoil gets in the way.

    So yes, I know about obstacles..just like everyone else! To me, it makes any word count progress just so much sweeter!

  2. Hi Sherrinda,
    The obstacles do get in the way of the smooth progress we crave! When we're at a near standstill, then any little step forward is something to cheer about!

  3. Hmmm, obstacles? How about a hubby who likes me to go to bed at nine thirty at night with him. LOL Actually, I'm flattered that he likes me near. :-)
    Another is my own procrastination. I love writing, but for some reason it's hard for me to sit down and do it. Once I do, things flow fairly well.
    Nice post Jody!

  4. Hi Jessica,
    Early bedtime is really hard if you're a night owl! But maybe you'll have to train yourself into an earlybird.

    And procrastination seems to work for some people--the pressure really does help produce great work! (Although I can operate under stress, I don't think I do my best work that way. I prefer a little comfort and cushion!)

  5. I could come up with a huge list for this, Jody. You're making us accountable in more ways than one aren't you?

    Okay, here are my top three: fear of not succeeding, frustrated kids, strength and energy to turn thoughts into readable sentences. Actually, I'll add a fourth. RULES. I'm still grasping all of them.

  6. Great post! I love you you laid it out!
    I've had too many obstacles to overcome lately. Job loss hits number one and with a husband around everyday and having to search the job boards--it is hard but I know God will have me do what I have to do.

  7. Hi Eileen,
    Yes! I just love accountability because I thrive under it! And thanks for mentioning another type of obstacle I hadn't thought of: writing rules! I think that one deserves a post of its own!

  8. Hi Terri,
    You are definitely going through tough times right now. I'm sure some days it must be an incredible struggle to gather the energy to write. Often during these hardest of times God births the most meaningful stories.

  9. Garsh, I'm up against every obstacle you listed except personal illness. Trudging onward.

  10. Hi Angie,
    I hear you! Some days I feel up against all of them too!

  11. Honestly Jody, have you been spying one me? I've hit every obstacle you've detailed in your post, this year. Most of them many times over. ;)

  12. I'd say my biggest obstacles used to be (and sometimes still are) my insecurities about writing, and family challenges. For some reason, when I my husband and I aren't on the same page, it really seems to affect many other areas of my life. Sometimes it is very difficult to put things into perspective and rely on the One who can keep of from falling. Every day can be a battle but the more we rely on God, the more we get used to helping Him guide us through the tough times.

  13. Hi T. Anne,
    Don't you know I have a new technology that allows me to get into everyone's home via the blog? :) Yikes, that would make for a good sci-fi story. I think I'll stick with Historical Romance!

  14. Hi Cindy,
    Family relationship difficulties affect our mental capacity to handle everything else, don't they. You're so right, we need to rely on the One who can keep us moving along.

  15. Everything you mentioned has gotten in my way at one point or another, but that's just life, you know?

    The one thing that made me pull out of writing and the internet for a week was a bad critique. I'm embarrassed to admit that...

  16. I've heard that bad critiques can be detrimental. I'm sorry that happened. I'm sure I'll get one of those too, at some point and it will be hard not to let it knock me off the path.

  17. Obstacles... let me count thy ways!

    Everything you list (PMS, ha!) and then some.

    I think the key is learning to work with the obstacles. We can't get rid of most of them, they are just there.

    Time constraints are most often my obstacle. At my day-job, the months of December and January are crazy crazy, so I pretty much put writing on hold for those months. It is my planned annual writing break.

    Beyond that, I learn to multi-task. I can write, stop and wipe a kids nose, then write a few more words and barely skip a beat. A lot of people can't, but... well, we learn to roll with the punches I guess!

  18. Hey Krista,
    Hope you're feeling better! I totally have learned to grab a few minutes here and there too. Take my little one potty, write a few words; break up a fight, write a few words; turn on a DVD, write a FEW more words! ;)

  19. I'm feeling a bit better, thanks:-)

    And, LOL, you're life sounds SO SO SO similar to mine! HA!


© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!