I just read Seven steps on the Writer’s Path by Nancy Pickard and Lynn Lott. The authors identify the seven steps on the writer’s path as:
I will not belabor the points here; you can read the book yourself. But I do want to point out that the authors cover something that is sometimes over looked and misunderstood: unhappiness.
This unhappiness or restlessness is critical to how authors wrestle with their own limitations. Newbie writers think of unhappiness as failure, many writers and creatives consider unhappiness as a sign of inadequacy or worse, a sign they should quite creative work and take up insurance sales, just like their father told them to do.
I even lost a client because she wanted me to fix her unhappiness and did not want to do the necessary other steps to get from unhappiness back to writing (or commitment if you like to follow your steps in chronological order).
“Unhappiness, to one degree or another, is where all creativity begins.” And the even more interesting observation: “Boredom is a dead giveaway to the probability that creative is lurking in your psyche.”
Are you bored with what you are creating? Are you unhappy with the work and unsatisfied? Then you are about to move forward.
Don’t push against the unhappiness. You can mope around (don’t start drinking, it won’t help). You can read. You can sit in the dark and cry, all legitimate options. Or you can find an alternative creative outlet – an activity that is very different from what you are trying to create. Focusing on the new pursuit will help lead you to the breakthrough for the original pursuit and it may just be fun.
So if you write, dance, sing, collage, paint. If you dance, write your memoirs. If you paint, write poems. I encourage you to look at your unhappiness and restlessness as outwards manifestations of your inner turmoil, once you see it and feel it, you can get back to what you really want to say, and really want to do, that much faster.
Don’t avoid the unhappiness, it’s a signal you are getting closer, it’s the dip right before the breakthrough. Do anything you want, just don’t quit.
Watch for our upcoming book, Don’t Write Like We Talk – What we learned after four years of interviewing Authors and Agents, Publishers and Poets. From the Newbie Writers Podcast, Damien Boath and Catharine Bramkamp