Fancy a journey through the valley of crippling self doubt?


As an ex-journalist and anxiety sufferer, I’ve often found writing a serious article feels like standing at the foot of a giant mountain while a gaggle of angry, flesh-eating badgers snap at my heels. Any notes/plans/article structures I produce can resemble a 36-car pile-up on the M25.

Recently a good friend of mine pointed me in the direction of someone who feels the same way – although probably with less disturbing badger-related angst. Science writer Ed Yong charts his own agonizing journey through the writing process below, with enjoyment on the vertical axis and time running along the horizontal.

If you’re a writer, and anywhere as neurotic as myself, you’ll relate to this anguish-riddled journey like Homer Simpson does to doughnuts.

My favourite commentary on this diagram comes from journalist Maggie Koerth-Baker who suggests that while it’s very close to reality, she would make one amendment – plot the graph as a never ending ring; and between edits to last story and the finding of next story, insert ‘Valley of Crippling Self Doubt’.

God knows what happens to those foolish enough to attempt writing a novel…


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