Revising: Stages Of A Breakdown



A writer once told me some advice given to him by an old mentor, “Don’t look back at until you’re done.” I simply can’t do this. Like many self-hating perfectionists, I edit and perfect as I write and believe me, this is not a good thing at times. Oh how I envy the cool as a cucumber writer, typing their many full pages of narrative. It may very well be a facade, but one I’d like to indulge. The destructive cycle of the perfectionist unfolds like this…

I can’t handle anything 


The moment feels as dramatic as it sounds. There you are, siting, focused (or at least trying to be). The pens and paper are ready, your computer has a bright and blank word document up and the internet’s off. Somehow your fingers can’t move and your brain keeps chanting Youtube Youtube. You take a look around realizing that the voice is indeed coming from your own mind. So what do you do? You freak out, diminish your work ethic and creativity and go watch some Youtube.

When writing one sentence feels like writing a paragraph 

I’m not sure if there’s a medical term to describe this. Somehow time becomes sluggish and your fingers feel like dead weight. At times your words may become incoherent or illegible. The symptoms could stem from malnutrition, possibly dehydration, but most likely from the stress of trying to create a piece of art in which to examine the meaning of life. Deep stuff.

Dreams can come true


Sometimes, yes. What’s next to be experienced is called denial. Here you might experience delusions of grandeur, let’s say a two book deal solely based on these few first draft pages. Feel free to laugh at yourself. Push through the constraints! Writing is no picnic, no dream ready to fall into your lap like a slice of cake on a spatula that isn’t big enough.

Hopefully you won’t have to suffer these stages of the writing process. If you do, comfort yourself with the poor writers blog.


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