Unhelpful Charts for Writers

Posted on
Mar 21, 2017

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.










Also published on Medium.


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  • I wish these weren’t funny…

  • littletinperson

    ‘Tis better to have written and tossed than never to have written at all. (no. it’s not.) ltp

  • These are wonderful.

    I remembered another that keeps me going when things are tough:

    “Remember, when you write, shoot for the moon, so even if you’ll miss you’ll continue into the cold, unending nothingness of space between the stars, utterly, utterly alone in a featureless black void for the rest of eternity, which is what you and your Art deserves” -anon.

  • These made me giggle! How I wish I was good with numbers instead, there’s only ever one correct answer with them..


  • You forgot to add one about the sinking get-me-out-of-here feeling when someone in real life hits you with, “I follow your blog.”

  • kartikak

    Geraldine! You are incredible. You helped me get through some pretty tough times and still do. You are probably the only person who cracks me up to the point I snort laugh uncontrollably in the middle of a crowded subway. Thank you for writing. Thank you for being you. Thank you for inspiring me to write. I know we would be best friends if we ever met (not in a stalker sort of way, just genuine admiration 😀 ) Much love, Kartika

  • Leanne Tremblay

    Ha! Love these! They all sound like different versions of my “creative process” for sure!

  • My tears of laughter are nicely diluting the tears of truth. 😀

  • Rocky Kev

    I printed the Venn diagram out and posted it on my wall with the rest of my inspirational posts.

    Can I steal this image to use in a future blog post? (by steal I mean also include credits.)

  • Brilliant. It may even get me to reinvent myself and start writing again. I have a blog I was proud for a minute or two (http://www.grainofinfinity.com) before a million self-doubts smothered it last October and the election further killed any desire I had for public communication. You may have just brought me back to life.

  • The wind behind me

    I was completely blocked, but I think I’m going to start writing with a smile right now. Of course, it will suck.

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