by Joanna D'Angelo

Ideas have never been a problem for me.  I can be chatting with someone and he or she will mention something about their life or someone they know and I'll think - hmm that would make an interesting documentary.  Or I'll read an article about a chef and wonder if I could build a show around her or him.  For the most part my doc ideas generally revolve around women's issues or themes whether the idea is light or serious in nature.

Then I'll jump into research. I could research an idea forever - it's my most favourite part of the development process.  Putting together a pitch proposal for a documentary or a TV series is the tough part because you're distilling everything down into that perfect pitch.  Even when I'm in the zone and the words are flowing I know it'll be several drafts at least before I'm satisfied. And even then - I'm never really satisfied.

But sometimes life throws us curve balls whether it's a health issue or a family related issue or a personal issue.  Nobody leads a perfect, carefree life. If that were true I don't think any of us would be writers.  I think the dark and the light that constantly jockey for position in our minds provide that tension we need as creative people.  I've talked to many writers over the years who feel the same way. 

So my question to you today is - how do you keep the balance and focus when it comes to your writing - particularly when going through a rough patch in your life?  This is something I find to be very challenging and I was wondering how other writers and creative types deal with the messy realities of life and still "produce".


Photo woman holding pen - courtesy:
Neville S

Photo of typewriter  - courtesy:


  1. MY ANSWER: Doubting yourself and denying your worth as a person weakens you and leaves the door open for all kinds of trouble. There are always users who spot self-doubt a mile away and make the most of a person’s weakness for their own selfish purposes. I promote literacy in every way that I can, especially for girls and women. Being literate is empowering and enables informed decision making. Don’t get overwhelmed by the whole big picture. Take care of the more important issues as needed, and whittle away at the smaller ones. You’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish that way!

    MY QUESTION: Did you ever draw the winner for this post: "Sex Sells" (5/7/10) One lucky commenter will win a copy of Sex And The Single Earl by Vanessa Kelly.

    Please respond. Thank you.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  2. Love that picture of the snagged typewriter!

    I believe wholeheartedly in giving myself a big break - and then getting on with it. Because of chronic pain issues, I've pushed through many a day when I really wanted to curl into a ball. But being pragmatic about things, if pushing through is going to result in stuff I'm likely going to scrap anyway, I listen to my body and give myself a break.

    Sometimes taking a day off is the right thing to do. Regroup, reload and come out firing!

  3. Great advice Virginia! You're right - sometimes we do get overwhelmed by the big picture and it helps to deal with things on a smaller scale. Oh, I just e-mailed you. ;) Cheers!

  4. Hi Julia:

    Yes, I hear you - sometimes a planned break is necessary in order to re-energise otherwise we're just digging ourselves further into a deep, dark hole. It's hard to do that though- because there's that constant guilt nagging at the back of our minds -you know that nasty voice that tells us we shouldn't take any time for ourselves. ;) I like that pic too. ;) Thanks for your comment!

  5. When I first starting writing, we had several interstates moves a few short years apart and it totally interrupted my rhythm. But, soon I was back to writing and it was the writing that saved me.

  6. Hi Kathy: I get that. There are times when I need to either escape through writing or just pour out what's in my head - sometimes stress can be a great motivating force. ;)

  7. The shit hitting the fan is why I'm writing today. Funny, huh? It was a very serious, stressful, drawn out situation that drove me to need escape. I picked up a book and not long after picked up a pen. That was six years ago. I haven't stopped since. When the shit hits I write more. When the craziness of every day life intrudes... I just don't sleep. lol

  8. Hi Posey - I understand what you mean - truly - it's sort of an interior driving force. But then there's the bread and butter writing - and that sometimes is the challenge when the stress is coming at you from all directions. Thanks so much for stopping by! Love your comment. ;)

  9. I think there is a difference between having to write something/anything as a means to sustain yourself and writing because you have a passion to tell a story or a life experience. The former is easier to do than the latter for me anyway. The pressure of having to write will force you to produce something acceptable but probably not your best work.

    For me, writing with a passion is a never-ending process and can take years to complete...or maybe will remain unfinished. I haven't seen how that story ends yet.

    Quite a thought-provoking query. :)

  10. Hi squozed: I agree - when I'm writing for my own pleasure (or pain ;) everything seems to flow so beautifully - well I guess it's because I know that no one is going to read it except me.

    I like that "writing with a passion is a never-ending process" Perhaps the journey itself is more important than the destination ;)

    Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment.

  11. The crazy stress is my life is WHY I started writing my stories, which have always amused me in my quiet moments, but which I never shared with anyone else, because I falsely assumed that everyone walked around with characters "talking" in their heads. A few years ago my dad passed away soon after a stroke, and while he was hospitalized, I realized my mom was in the early stages of dementia, now progressed into full-blown Alzheimers. I have 4 teen-aged and young adult kids, and try to supplement my husband's income with 2-3 part-time jobs, since there don't seem to be any school districts who will hire English teachers who are not fresh out of college. I really needed a HEA in my life, so I started to write my books to find them. Writing keeps me sane, even when I have to stay up to the wee hours of the morning, and walk into walls all the next day, because I'm so exhausted. The writing is the easy part! The promotion and the search for readers is what is really daunting...

  12. Oh Fiona! What a time you've had! Well, I agree with you - I think for the most part - writing does keep us sane - throughout those ups and downs in life. Helps keep us grounded. I wish you luck and success with your writing - have you joined my facebook group Love Romance Novels? I'm on facebook as well - contact me there and I can give you some tips on promotion. ;) Cheers! And thanks so much for your comment!

  13. Great post, Joanna. Writing helps me gain perspective when I'm caught in messy situations. It's become a survival tool, in fact, an escape pod away from reality. :)


Post a Comment

We would love to hear from you but hope you are a real person and not a spammer. :)

Popular Posts