For the past month or so, I’ve binge-watched the ’90s sitcom Frasier on Netflix. I laughed heartily episode after episode through eight consecutive seasons.
That is, until I watched this scene:
Granted, a sitcom can make me cry from time to time. But those tears were fueled by the passion between on-screen characters that I’ve been rooting for.
This time was different. That’s because this scene was about me.
Not just me. Not just Frasier. It’s also about you.
(I recommend watching the three-minute clip before reading on.)
After eating my feelings and Internet shopping for quarterlife crisis books, I watched the scene again. And again. And again.
Every word he spoke resonated with me. Every movement he made I saw as my own. Every pause was filled with the doubt and emptiness I also felt—and repressed.
How can I relate to a psychiatrist going through a midlife crisis? We couldn’t be any more different:
- We pursue different professions
- We are in different phases of our lives
- We live in different locations
- We are different genders
- We don’t share many hobbies or interests
And the most glaring: I am real, he is not.
But the connection was still there. We both shared the career crisis.
For me, it’s the writer’s crisis.
Assuming that I have one reader that hasn’t confronted the writer’s crisis…
The writer’s crisis is a period of psychological stress and loss of self-confidence triggered by various phases of the writing process or one’s writing career.
For the rest of you, I don’t need to introduce you to the writer’s crisis. You’ve met before. You may have known each other for years.
I know I have. But it seems like our literature doesn’t know the phrase.
If you do a quick Internet search for writer’s block, your results will be in the millions.
Now try writer’s crisis. Most of the webpage results keep “writer’s” and “crisis” separated by many words, most often by whole paragraphs. It’s as if “writer’s” has filed a restraining order against “crisis.”
Want to see the results plunge? Search “writer’s crisis” (including the quotes). Not even a thousand results.
(Don’t get me started on the poor search findings for books on the writer’s crisis…)
Why the low results? The writer’s crisis isn’t a new concept. In fact, every writer I know trudges (and sometimes heavily drinks) through a writer’s crisis.
But all we write about is writer’s block.
Books and blogs (including my own) write about solving writer’s block, but not about solving the writer’s crisis.
Isn’t writer’s block merely a symptom of the writer’s crisis?
We could treat the symptom with a quick fix bandage for a month or two. Heck, we can pretend this week’s trending fix-it solution will kill any fears of failure or self-doubt about our writing skills.
But how long will that last? Isn’t it about time we too sat in the orange chair?
In next week’s blog, I’ll discuss how to face your writer’s crisis head-on and identify the fears or issues holding back your writing.
Have you experienced writer’s crisis? Share your story below.