Sometimes we go a bit crazy with the work, and for a while there’s no vertigo and everything is fine. We’re in final edits for one project, another is in development, and a third is at 30,000 words. And then, without warning, the cliffs of story loom above and descend below. It all seems too much. We think, maybe there’s an easier way to live. (And of course there are many easier ways, but we don’t write because it’s easy.)
Vertigo. It seems like a long way down.
We take a day off. A month. And pretty soon we’re calling it writers’ block and scowling at
the laundry (or equivalent) which somehow takes over our creative spirit and becomes central to life. Don’t ask me why I picked laundry here. Okay, maybe I’m waxing a bit autobiographical.
Four steps to help avert writing vertigo
- Write or say aloud one sentence that describes your ideal career. (Resist getting all writerly-ironic or apologetic about this.) For example, “I am a world-class fantasy writer, and I reward my many readers’ expectations with pure entertainment in two published books a year.”
- Identify the project that most advances that career.
- Ask, what’s the smallest, certain step forward I can take towards that goal? For example, identify the darkest hour and hero’s sacrifice. Set a timer for 10, 20 or 40 minutes. Do the thing. Then leave it. Now, everything else done that day is gravy.
- Next day, back to step one.
I mean, there’s still going to be laundry. But clean laundry and a happy writers’ heart? Not a bad outcome for a better today.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers, Mel.
Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and is Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.
If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume, here. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires