“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength or a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”
Well, I knew it was going to happen at some point during this revision, and now it has. I’ve reached the fall-apart stage. This is the place where I start feeling like my entire book is a mess and that I’ve actually made it worse instead of better in some sections because of changes I’ve made. All this may sound very familiar to you: Anyone who’s written for any length of time is likely to be no stranger to this state of affairs. But that’s not much consolation right now.
The fall-apart stage is rough. I’ve hit it several times in my nonfiction projects. But here’s one thing I’ve learned about it — and something every entrepreneur and artist knows — it’s a natural and predictable phase of any creative project. It’s just part of the territory. And while you can moan and groan about it for a bit — as I am doing here! — the only real solution is to fight through it and keep working until you come out on the other side.
And when you do, more often than not, you find that what you end up with is better and stronger than where you started. So for both my own sanity and for any of you who’ve hit the fall-apart stage along with me, here are a few quick survival tips that have worked for me before:
• Don’t fight it, accept it: you’re in a lousy spot, period.
• Remember, it’s a rite of passage — a necessary phase.
• Be kind to yourself: getting past it isn’t easy.
• Don’t give into despair — that’s the easy way out.
• Tackle something small and fix it — you’ll feel better.
• Know that there’s a reward at the end: a better product.
• Try something new: use big index cards, colored pens or
computer ink, a different typeface — something to shake
things up a bit.
• Take a break: sometimes stepping away for a bit helps.
If you have any techniques for surviving a major rough patch that helped you through, I’d love to hear them. Write on!