The email was from a young man in Nebraska, an aspiring writer. He writes, in part, "What is the hardest part about being a writer?"
This question is extremely hard to answer, since there is no single aspect of writing that is harder than the others. From the creative process to the final product and promoting your work, it is all difficult.
For me, one of the hardest parts of being a writer is the ideas. I am currently working on several books at once, because I get an idea and I have to see it through until inspiration runs out. Every day, I get more ideas, and I end up writing on most of them. This causes distractions from the projects I need to be working on.
I really have no advice when it comes to this problem, since I have yet to figure it out myself. This kind of work is not for everyone. People seem to think that I can write whenever creativity strikes. Hardly. Usually, it strikes in the middle of the checkout line or in midday traffic. I can't carry my laptop everywhere to whip it out and write when I need to. I will jot down the idea and then work on it later.
Also, I am subject to long periods of laziness when it comes to my writing, which serves no one, starting with my fans. I often have to force myself to sit at my computer and write. The flow just won't be there that day. Usually, though, this starts a fit of inspiration, and then the only noise heard in my house is Chopin mixed with the clacking of computer keys.
I am not a writer because I want to be. I am a writer because I have to be. There is a difference. I cannot allow a day to go by without writing something, and there, I feel is what differentiates between a good writer and a great one.