While I initially started this post with the aim of creating helpful charts for writers, that was soon abandoned because I don’t really know what helpful advice I have to offer about writing, other than to maybe not be sober while doing it. (And that’s not even my advice – pretty sure that Hemingway came up with that way before me.)
Writing can be difficult. I know that sounds really indulgent to say – I mean, I stand in front of a computer all day. How hard can that possibly be? My grandmother had to fetch water from a well and carry it back to her village in a ceramic jug on her head and I’m a sunlit office complaining because I don’t know what words I should make magically appear with my fingers.
But I suspect all writers feel that way. We are mired in self-doubt and neuroses. Even when we create something that a teeny part of us may actually think is good we still sort of hate it. And then we think of how ungrateful and useless we are because just the fact that we have running water, much less the opportunity to write, is a gift. That push-pull of self-loathing and doubt and gratitude is what makes us writers.
So rather than create any cogent advice, I decided to chart out the path of my neuroses as it comes to my work. I made a few flowcharts and diagrams. If you are a writer, you’ll probably relate. And for that, I am entirely sorry.