Jessie Burton writes in her article Success, Creativity and the Anxious space about how 2015 was probably the best year of her life. A million copies of her book The Miniaturist were sold. For any aspiring writer, this sounds like the pinnacle of achievement.
But this was exactly the time when she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Burton then chronicles the story of her mind- a mercurial thing like all minds out there. The problem with writing a book and one that flies off of the shelves at that is the anxiety that you may never be able to write another word again. Success is impossible to handle when you are used to failure.
“When something you have made in private is mass-consumed, the irony is that the magnifying glass burns even brighter on you as an individual. Who you are, where you come from, how you make your work. And if you do not have immediate answers to this, because let’s face it, who truly does, then boy, are you in for a bumpy ride. When something like this happens to you, however minor it might be in the great scheme of fame, you never know what’s waiting in your personal wings. You never, ever know how the spotlight on your identity is going to make you feel. You may hypothesize that you’d be really good at dealing with it, but forgive me that I beg to disagree.”
The success of her book led her to dark spells that she coped with and wrote out. Reading her story gives you an insight into the working of a writer’s mind, or even the mind of someone who works entirely on his or her own. Writing a book can turn you into an overnight success; it can wear you down as well. Looks like ups and downs go hand in hand.
So how do you reach there at the pinnacle of success? I found an article about the Helsinki Bus Station Theory in an article by James Clear called Stay on the bus. The idea is that you could be working on the same idea for years but it’s reworking it and sticking with it that brings the real breakthrough. So if you are stuck on a manuscript, it will begin to work only once you start reworking it.
Have you ever been stuck with your writing?
I liked the common sense no-nonsense approach of this article and the possibility of inserting the picture of a bus in this blog post was too tempting to miss.