Author Guest Post: Steven Donahue


Eight Things Every Writer Has to Face

So, you want to be a writer?

Congratulations. This is a noble profession, with a long and prestigious history. You will be joining a society that includes William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and other notable scribes.

However, this is also an undertaking that is not for the faint of heart. Simply put, you need to have a thick skin if you want to survive.  

Every profession has its challenges, and this one is no different. What makes these challenges unique is that writers face them alone. Even if you have a writing partner, the act of writing remains a solo endeavor. It takes a certain kind of person, one with drive, concentration, attention to detail and the ability to follow through, to sit down in front of a computer screen (or typewriter, if you are old-school) and create words that someone will hopefully read.

Here are the most common obstacles you will face as a writer.    


Rejection: It’s funny, as I planned this blog, this was the first challenge that came to mind. This is one you cannot avoid. No matter how good your book is or who you send it to, someone will reject it. More often than not, many editors and publishers will reject it. This is par for the course, so don’t take it personally. It could be that your book is just not a good match for that organization. Keep a stiff upper lip and keep sending out queries.   

Insecurity: Is my work any good? Every good writer asks this question. Rejections make you wonder, but if you truly believe in your talent and your project, then you need to overcome this enemy and push forward.

Rewrites: Just when you think you’ve written something amazing, you look back on it and realize that it needs a lot of work. Don’t worry, all first drafts need reworking. It just depends on the level of editing required. Even after you’ve made changes and polished it to a shine, you may still need to do more reworking after an editor sees it. Again, this is normal.

Awkwardness: “Oh, how’s that writing thing going for you?” “Have you made any money yet?” “Don’t quit your day job.” Family, friends and casual acquaintances may have the best of intentions, but these kinds of remarks can still get under your skin. While working a retail job, I once had a boss tell me that all I would ever write are rainchecks. I am glad to report that he was wrong.

Competition: Even if you are lucky enough to find some success in the publishing world, there will still be other authors who seem to be more successful. Like it or not, they are your competition. They want readers as much as you do. Writers say they do this for the love of the craft, and hopefully there is some truth to that, but let’s face it, we all want to make money. There is nothing wrong with that. Just know that your books will be fighting for the hearts and dollars of readers who have lots of choices.    

Long waits: This may be the most aggravating part of the job: Waiting for editors or publishers to accept or reject your work. Even in the Internet age, publishing is still a long and sluggish process. A book you finish today might not see the light of day for a year or more. Be patient. Unless you self-publish with a program like Createspace, this will be a lengthy route.   

Marketing: Gone are the days of publishers doing the marketing for you. This responsibility now falls heavily on the writer. Use social networks, reach out to area media, and tell everyone you can about your work. As unpleasant a task as it is, marketing your writing is part of your job.

Anxiety: Most writers are naturally anxious people. This job just exacerbates the condition. Between the insecurity, competition, marketing and long waits, your emotions will be frayed. Don’t let them get the best of you. Hopefully, things will work out in their own time.


Welcome aboard, fellow writer. It is a difficult road ahead but one that is worth it in the end.   


Steven Donahue was a copywriter for TV Guide magazine for 14 years. His first novel, Amanda Rio, was published in 2004. He released three novels in 2013: The Manila Strangler (Rainstorm Press), Amy the Astronaut and the Flight for Freedom (Hydra Publications), and Comet and Cupid’s Christmas Adventure (Createspace). His fifth novel, Chasing Bigfoot (Createspace) was published in 2014, and his short story Grit was also included in the anthology Hero’s Best Friend by Seventh Star Press in 2014. In 2015, he published his sixth book, Where Freedom Rings: A Tale of the Underground Railroad (Createspace).

For more info about Steven Donahue’s books, visit

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