We continue our look at the main challenges writers face and what you can do to help yourself deal with them. This list is extracted from Living the Writer’s Life by Eric Maisel, and it isn’t exhaustive. You won’t experience all of these and you may have other challenges that aren’t on the list. I’ve broken it down into several chunks for easy reading – in this part: letters D to I!
Day Jobs: It would be better not to need a day job. But you probably will. Try to find one with some built-in meaning. If you can’t, think about securing a second career in addition to writing. This plan has its drawbacks, too, but it may prove more satisfactory than decades of bad day jobs.
Discipline: Imagine that discipline can only be coaxed, not forced. Seduce a little more discipline out of yourself. Say, “Let’s just sit together by the computer, you and me, and play some inner jazz. Let’s improvise.”
Editors: Get to know one editor. Take her to lunch. Study how she thinks. Listen to what she says. Then get to know another editor. Then another. If there aren’t three editors in your town, spend a week where they are: say, at a writer’s conference.
Envy: Cry a good, hard cry. Surrender to the painful feelings. Then determine to rethink the marketplace and plot out your own path to success. Or just feel successful.
Fame: If you’re famous and hating it, imagine trying to publish as an unknown. Is that what you want? If it is, do it. If it isn’t, modulate your groaning. If you’re not famous and craving it, transform that desire into concrete action. Sit still and use your billions of brain cells to answer the question, “If I must be famous, what’s my plan?”
Guilt: Yes, you haven’t written enough, or well enough, or published enough, or published at all. But release all that guilt. Roll that ten-ton boulder off your chest. To prevent it from rolling back, write more, write better, and work harder at selling.
Imagination: If you fear you aren’t imaginative enough, just imagine. Dream up a world. Create a setting. Conjure a plot. Make myth. Invent Wonderland. Sit down, shut your eyes, and imagine.
Insecurity: You may never gain financial security. You may never feel secure that the book you’re writing will turn out well. But there are other securities available to you. There’s the security of an intimate relationship – that is, if both partners are trustworthy and willing to love. Try your hand at that kind of security.
Intimacy: Do not look for love; look for ways to love. Act from the heart, be kinder and more considerate, but also expect and demand some reciprocity.
Isolation: Go to your local coffee house and talk to the first person you see. Say, “How are you today?” After a while, excuse yourself and move on to another table. Spend the day with members of your species.**
**my note: don’t just do this on Twitter. Important!
Next time: the letters L to R!
Read the whole list here