Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When panic strikes… freak out!

Panic, self-doubt, recrimination – any of these sound familiar? About once a week I have a little panic attack, about something I’m working on, something I’m not working on but should be, or just about my writing in general.

I’m in the middle of a major kitchen and tiling job at home, plus my employer decided that this would be an excellent time to move the office across the city. So I know what the problem is. I don’t have the time, or the head-space, to cope with three scripts that need rewriting, and a new one that keeps waking me up at 4am demanding to be written.

Am I the only writer who’s insane, or do you recognise these symptoms?!

Anyway, I used to panic all the time. It was my middle name. Here’s what I’ve learned to do to cope:

  • Recognise that you are having a brain spasm.
  • Look at what’s going on and identify why you’re freaking out. Do you have no time? Is someone breathing down your neck for a draft? Have you just been fired?
  • If something traumatic/all-consuming is happening, consider parking the writing for a day or two, and fight the fires that need putting out.
  • If you’re stuck and have writer’s block, go for a very long walk.
  • If you have no time, devote half an hour to the script/script problem. This will make you feel like you’re doing something.
  • If someone’s hassling you for a draft, either pull an all-nighter and get it to them, or if you don’t understand what they want, organise a meeting.

And remember, if you’re not panicking at least some of the time, you’re not a writer :)

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