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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Best Laid Writing Plans…

dizzy canstockphoto0364806I planned to write a different post and publish it yesterday; I hadn’t planned to get vertigo.

So instead, here are my musings on balance and the lack thereof.

Observation: It’s difficult in the extreme to write when the room keeps spinning and the monitor jerks from side to side.

It’s difficult to even stay in the chair. Not because I’m feeling resistant, because I’m feeling nauseous.

Indulging in regret about missing my commitments didn’t help – it just made me frustrated on top of being nauseated.

Conclusion: Sometimes not showing up for your Product Time (aka writing) commitment is NOT about resistance. When you can’t show up for a legit reason, take PTO, Personal Time Off, with no guilt and no recriminations.

(In case you’re wondering, a legit reason is anything that would cause you to take time off from a paid position with a reasonable employer – illness, funeral, a trip to the ER, or other personal or family crisis.)

ship storm canstockphoto7243661Observation: The first day I had vertigo, I tried to lay in the bathtub. I was shocked water didn’t slosh out of the tub even though it was heaving from side to side like a Spanish galleon in a typhoon. Going to the pool to swim was just not possible.

Conclusion: If you’re injured or incapacitated, your Self-care commitment has to change so you can really take of yourself. Process might also need to shift or be postponed.

Observation: I had to rearrange and reduce my Product Time targets so I could go to doctor and physical therapy appointments. Thanks to them, I could show up today.

Conclusion: Self-care doesn’t mean solo-care. When you you need help, get it as quickly as possible.

Self-care can be time-consuming. It’s worth the investment. Regular Self-care can reduce the frequency of injury or illness, but it’s not a guarantee.

Observation: Loss of balance can have a physiological cause. You can also lose your balance metaphorically for emotional or cultural causes.

Conclusion: Regardless of why you lost your balance, your first priority has to be to regaining it.

Observation: Losing your balance sucks. It also heaves, spins, whirls and jerks.

Conclusion: Having habits to ease you back into writing once the world settles down is a relief.

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8 Comments on “Best Laid Writing Plans…”

  1. Susan G July 15, 2016 at 8:07 am #

    Thank you for the reminder that we’re all human. Not everything that gets in the way of product time is our saboteur. Sometimes #$*% just happens. Sometimes we get sick or there’s a family emergency. And, yes, sometimes that sneaky saboteur creeps in still. Good writing habits have helped me know the difference. You clearly have that down, too, Rosanne. I’m glad you took care of yourself and that you were feeling well enough again to write this blog!


  2. Anonymous July 14, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

    What horrible symptoms! Hope you feel better.


  3. Julie Fasciana July 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    So sorry about the vertigo, Rosanne! Glad you are feeling better!


  4. Joel D Canfield July 14, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

    That sounds most unpleasant.

    I’ve been under chronic stress since February as we’ve planned and executed a cross-country opposite-weather (Wisconsin to Arizona) move. The two sides of my brain haven’t gotten along well during the process. “You’re not doing anything. Why aren’t you writing?” “How can I write when I can’t even think and don’t even know how I FEEL?”

    That, for about 151 days.

    We’ll have a place of our own within a couple weeks (staying with the best friends a family ever had until then.)

    My analytical brain will be most pleased about returning to my schedule. My artistic brain will enjoy the release of a bunch of stored-up stuff.


    • rosannebane July 14, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      Yikes – 151 days of dueling hemispheres! The cause of vertigo is that the brain gets signals from the inner ear that don’t match the signals your eyes and skin/muscles send, in short, mixed messages. Which sounds like your experience. I don’t think I could stay sane for 150 days… Here’s to getting settled and releasing your artistic brain soon.


      • Joel D Canfield July 14, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

        When I used to sail with my dad I learned pretty quickly that letting my eyes experience the same movement as my ears dealt with seasickness, but it’s a nasty feeling nonetheless.

        I have a marvelous support network between my wife and our friends, or I’d never have made it this far.


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