Inspired by my reading list this month, I made a map to illustrate my writing angst. (Click on it to enlarge):
As you can see, the most direct path to the Shangri-la of Creative Genius is through the Hardwork Hills and the mountainous (or should I say monotonous?)
. This path is rigorous and challenging – one needs a lot of stamina to stay on the trail. Revision Range
|Anybody been here?|
Most writers, I would guess, take alternate routes due to responsibilities, diversions, and frustrations from false starts. Such scenic routes eventually intersect with the Road to Revision, a crossroads where we choose to stay on the current well-worn path of our lives or turn back onto the bumpy, dirty road of our creativity.
Some of us, after reading the first draft of our own work for the first time become overwhelmed and flooded by our inner critics. Sometimes this leads us away from the path of work and straight into the
. All one needs is the tiniest bridge of encouragement to get out of this quagmire – even a few stepping stones will do. Just don’t fall into the jaws of the All-i-editor (a dangerous menace who says you have to have all edits perfectly executed in the first revision. It feeds on our insecurities, our isolation, and our impatience). Swamp of Self-Doubt
From time to time, my muse – my writer’s compass – points me toward the Inspiration Superhighway, where my word counts speed forth with nary an editing policeman in sight. I was making good time toward creative paradise, when I decided to stop for rest and refueling. The exit ramp to Existentialism loomed ahead. I took it, and soon found myself looking around and asking Why am I here? Why do I write? Why can’t I finish? What is the point? Before I know it, I’m in
, on the corner of Boredom and Stuck. If I travel up a few writer’s blocks, I’ll be at Quitting City , and I have no interest in taking up residence there. Stump-ed Towers
Perhaps I’ll make my way to the Stream of Consciousness and try a new way of getting around my landscape. Instead of climbing or cruising or pounding the pavement, I’ll go with the flow. Who knows? Maybe I’ll float right into Publication Plains, the golden fields of word-laden sheaves surrounding Shangri-la.