7 Common Stumbling Blocks When Writing a Nonfiction Book

05 May 2023


For many aspiring writers, penning a full-length nonfiction book can become one of the most fulfilling tasks of their lifetime. However, obstacles may exist between achieving that lifetime goal and staring at a blank computer screen.

These obstacles can creep up on anyone at any time. Even seasoned writers may fall prey to these hindrances. That is why understanding how they work and how to overcome them is a crucial part of making any writing project come to fruition.

In this article, we will discuss seven common stumbling blocks when writing a book, and how you can overcome them today.

7 Common Stumbling Blocks When Writing a Nonfiction Book

Writing a book requires a combination of skill and motivation. First, authors need appropriate skills to produce the content they plan. Nevertheless, skills can only take authors so far. Solid writing skills require motivation to see the project through.

That being said, the common stumbling blocks authors face are linked to skills and motivation. Understanding their nature helps writers find a way around these obstacles.

Here is a look at each obstacle and how writers can tackle them for good.

1. Procrastination

One of the most common stumbling blocks for writers is procrastination.

In essence, procrastination is delaying or postponing a task, often to the point of not completing it at all.

It is a common behavior that can affect any author, regardless of their specific circumstances.

Procrastination can be caused by various factors, including fear of failure, lack of motivation, perfectionism, or simply feeling overwhelmed by the task at hand.

Unfortunately, procrastination can have negative consequences, such as missed deadlines, reduced productivity, and increased stress levels.

Luckily, there are strategies that can be used to overcome procrastination. These include:

  • Breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Setting deadlines (and sticking to them!)
  • Creating a structured work environment

The most important thing to keep in mind is that small, incremental progress compounds into larger achievements, allowing authors to overcome procrastination.

2. Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is, by far, the worst stumbling block.

It can be frustrating when authors feel stuck and unable to move forward with writing.

On the whole, writer’s block is a common condition that affects many writers at some point in their careers. It refers to a temporary inability to write or create new work, typically due to a lack of inspiration, motivation, or ideas.

Writer’s block can manifest in various ways, such as difficulty starting a new project, struggling to come up with new ideas, or feeling stuck in the middle of a project.

Various factors, including stress, self-doubt, fear of failure, or burnout can cause it.

To put it plainly, writer’s block can be frustrating and discouraging.

The big question is, “How to overcome writer’s block?”

The answer can be found in the following strategies:

  • Taking time away from writing
  • Engaging in other creative activities
  • Seeking feedback from others
  • Using writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing

Above all, please remember that writer’s block is natural and should not be viewed as a sign of failure.

3. Lack of Time

With busy schedules and other commitments, finding the time to sit down and write consistently can be challenging for many writers.

Writing a book can take many hours of work over a long period. And many writers have other commitments, such as work, family, or social obligations that can make it challenging to find time to write.

Suppose a writer does not have enough time to devote to their writing.

In that case, it can lead to a lack of progress, frustration, and even abandonment of the project altogether.

In order to be successful, writers need to make writing a priority and find ways to carve out time for it in their busy schedules.

This approach may mean setting aside specific times each day or week for their writing schedule. It may also mean cutting back on other commitments to make time for a realistic writing schedule.

Writers need to recognize the value of their time and use it wisely to achieve their writing goals.

4. Inadequate Planning

Writing a book requires careful planning and organization. Without a clear plan, it can be easy to get lost in the writing process or lose track of the overall direction of the book.

A lack of planning may lead an author to struggle to develop a cohesive narrative, create well-developed arguments, or achieve their book’s desired tone or message.

Inadequate planning can also lead to writer’s block. The author may not have a clear direction for their writing and may feel uncertain about what to write next.

To avoid issues related to inadequate planning, authors should take the time to plan their books carefully, considering important aspects such as narrative, argument development, tone, and major themes.

Careful planning can help ensure the writing process goes smoothly, resulting in a cohesive and well-structured book. Proper planning ensures the finished product is of high quality.

5. Self-Doubt

Writing a book can be a vulnerable experience, and many writers struggle with self-doubt.

It is important to remember that writing is a process, and making mistakes and taking risks is all right. However, when self-doubt creeps in, it can lead to a phenomenon known as “imposter syndrome.”

Imposter syndrome is characterized by a persistent feeling of being a fraud or an imposter, even when one is successful, competent, or accomplished in their field.

Individuals with imposter syndrome may feel that they do not deserve their success, that they have been lucky, or that they are not as competent as others believe them to be. This perception can lead to anxiety, self-doubt, and a fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Imposter syndrome is often associated with high-achieving individuals, such as academics, professionals, or artists, who feel they are not good enough despite their accomplishments. And various factors, such as perfectionism, high expectations, a fear of failure, or a lack of confidence can cause it.

Imposter syndrome can be a significant barrier to personal and professional growth. It can prevent individuals from pursuing new opportunities or completing a writing project such as an autobiography, memoir, or full-length book.

Please bear in mind that overcoming imposter syndrome is possible by acknowledging and challenging negative thought patterns, setting realistic expectations, and celebrating accomplishments.

Individuals suffering from self-doubt can learn to recognize their own worth and feel more confident in their abilities. The best part is that self-confidence compounds: Small achievements eventually lead to increased self-confidence, ultimately curbing self-doubt or even imposter syndrome for good.

6. Perfectionism

Perfectionism can be another stumbling block for writers. It is important to remember that no book is perfect. Furthermore, it is better to finish and revise a finished book than to strive for an unattainable level of perfection.

Perfectionism can also lead to procrastination.

Authors may feel they cannot start writing until they have a perfectly formed idea or outline. This belief can result in missed deadlines or an inability to complete a project at all.

Additionally, perfectionism can lead to excessive revisions and rewrites, as authors may never feel satisfied with their work while continually striving for an unrealistic level of perfection.

Furthermore, perfectionism can stifle creativity and originality, as authors may become overly focused on adhering to established rules and conventions rather than exploring new ideas and approaches. This approach can result in formulaic, unoriginal work or work lacking depth.

To overcome perfectionism, authors may need to adopt a more flexible and forgiving approach to their writing. This attitude may involve setting realistic goals, accepting imperfections, and focusing on progress rather than perfection.

By letting go of the need for perfection, authors can free themselves from the constraints of self-doubt and fear and achieve greater success in their writing.

7. Lack of Feedback

Writing can be a solitary experience. Without feedback from others, it can be tough to improve writing. Seeking feedback from beta readers  (someone who reads your manuscript with an eye towards providing constructive feedback), writing groups, or book editors can help identify areas for improvement and refine writing.

Feedback can come in many forms, such as constructive criticism from beta readers or editors, reviews from readers, or the peer review process in writing groups or workshops.

Taking advantage of feedback can help authors identify inconsistent narratives or argument development issues that they may not have noticed on their own.

Feedback can also provide insight into what readers enjoy about the book, what resonates with them, and what could be improved.

Additionally, feedback can provide a valuable sense of validation and encouragement for authors who may be feeling uncertain or insecure about their work. Positive feedback can motivate authors to continue writing and to pursue publication or other opportunities. Consequently, appropriate feedback can become a worthwhile antidote for self-doubt.

How can hiring a ghostwriter help authors overcome obstacles?

Hiring a ghostwriter can help authors overcome various obstacles in the writing process, such as writer’s block, lack of time, inadequate planning, and even imposter syndrome. Here are the best ways that a ghostwriter can help authors get over major obstacles.

Writer’s Block

A ghostwriter is a type of book consultant that can help to develop a cure for writer’s block by taking on the writing process themselves, allowing the author to focus on generating ideas and providing feedback.

Ghostwriters can work with authors to develop outlines, identify key themes, and create a clear roadmap for the writing process.

Lack of Time

A professional ghostwriter can address the problem of lack of time by taking on the bulk of the writing process. In doing so, ghostwriters can help free up the author’s time for other projects or responsibilities.

This approach can be particularly helpful for authors with busy schedules or other commitments limiting their writing time.

Inadequate Planning

An experienced ghostwriter works as a writing consultant that can help to overcome the problem of inadequate planning by working with the author to develop a detailed plan for the writing process.

This plan can include developing a clear outline, identifying key themes and messages, and determining the tone and style of the writing.

Imposter Syndrome

Ghostwriters can aid authors in overcoming the problem of imposter syndrome by providing support and encouragement throughout the writing process.

They can work with the author to identify strengths and unique perspectives. Moreover, a professional ghostwriter can help authors to express their ideas clearly and confidently.

Above all, hiring a ghostwriter can provide authors with the support, guidance, and expertise they need to overcome obstacles in the writing process and produce high-quality work. By working with a skilled and experienced ghostwriter, authors can achieve their writing goals and bring their ideas to life in an engaging, effective, and impactful way.


Preserve your legacy

A Final Thought

Failure is a natural part of the writing process and can be a valuable learning experience. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things, even if they don’t always work out.

Please keep in mind that failure does not mean crash and burn. Failure means understanding that things do not always go perfectly. As a result, embracing the things that do not go as expected is necessary.

Most importantly, embracing failure is important for authors because writing is a process of trial and error. Not every idea will succeed, and not every piece of writing will be perfect. Failure is a natural part of the creative process. But it can be a valuable learning experience.

By accepting that failure is inevitable, authors can stay motivated, learn from their mistakes, and develop the resilience and creativity needed to produce their best work. Plus, getting help along the way can mitigate obstacles’ negative impact on authors.

Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. Producing a full-length, nonfiction book is not something that happens overnight. It takes time and commitment to reach the final destination: a fully finished and polished nonfiction book authors can be proud of.

This outcome starts with baby steps and celebrating small victories. While focusing on the big picture is crucial, setting small, attainable goals helps compound the individual steps throughout the book writing process.

Zach Richter 

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