In Living the Writer’s Life, Eric Maisel lists 60 of the main challenges writers face and what you can do to help yourself deal with them. The list isn’t exhaustive and many of them interconnect or relate to each other. You won’t experience all of these and you may have other challenges that aren’t on the list. I’ve extracted some and broken it down into several chunks for easy reading – in this part: letters A & B!
Addictions: Honour the power of your addiction before you even think about challenging it. Say, “Wow, you’re one heck of an addiction!” Drop the idea that your addiction might be easy to eradicate and surrender to the fact that it has a real hold on you.
Agents: Better understand what an agent does by trying to agent a friend’s work. Say to your friend, “Give me a month to try to sell your novel.” Try to figure out which editors to call. See what it feels like to call them. See if you can do it. See what you learn.
Ageing: Some things get harder as we grow older, but many things get easier. We have so many experiences to learn from! You can write better now. You can sell better now. Why? Because of your hard-earned wisdom. Try to articulate that wisdom: what have you learned and how will you use it?
Ambition: You don’t want to extinguish the fire in your belly. But you don’t want to let it incinerate you, either. Dream big but live a life so rounded and rich that setbacks only scorch you a little.
Anger: Silently scream. Scream and scream. The anger is real, justified, and a killer. Scream and release it.
Anxiety: Anxiety is an amazing antagonist. It lurks everywhere. Having trouble deciding whether to write this story or that one? Look for the anxiety. Fortunately, it often vanishes once spotted and named.
Arrogance: There’s necessary arrogance and unnecessary arrogance. Learn the difference. Your life depends on fostering the one and eradicating the other.
Blocks: Reframe your block as performance anxiety. Say, “I guess I’m worried about my upcoming performance.” Then perform anyway. Supply your own applause.
Boredom: Existential crises end when meaning returns. List three meaningful things to do and do one of them. If you can’t generate even a brief list, go out and jog. Maybe meaning is waiting for you by the side of the trail.
Next time: the letter C!
Read the whole list here