The big wheel can climb however high, but it inevitably returns to its starting point.
-Bubbles & Gondola by Renaud Dillies
Just sit down at the computer (or the typewriter) and type out your story or article. It sounds simple enough. But if that’s the case, why can it be so hard to be motivated? On the surface, it would appear that the problem is laziness. At least that’s what I used to think my problem was. I’d rather be reading other books, binge-watching a TV show, playing video games, or napping with my pets. And for a long time, I blamed my lack of writing on my being slothful. But as time went on, I wondered if it was something more. What if it was fear?
But fear to write? How absurd is that? Maybe not as absurd as I was once imagined, and a French graphic novel helped reinforce my view.
Bubble & Gondola
Renaud Dillies’s graphic novel Bubbles & Gondola really helped put my thoughts into perspective. *Warning: Mild Spoilers Ahead*
The book opens with the portayel of being as writer as the greatest thing ever. Charlie the Mouse loves being a writer and having his own schedule. However, underneath all that supposed freedom lurks his fears of writing that chain him. This is aptly illustrated when he comes across a towering Ferris Wheel. The ride operator, a jovial stork, offers Charlie a free ride; in fact he insists, pushing the poor little mouse into one of the gondolas before he can protest.
While on the ride, Charlie ruminates how he has vertigo from the heights. Appearing before him is a little blue-bird who asks him if he’s taken the time to appreciate the view. When Charlie says no, he eventually tells him that “You want to write, but your ideas are a big wheel turning upon itself,” and adding “You’re afraid of writing because you suffer from vertigo.” Wow! Did that hit close to home for me.
Suffering from Writer’s Vertigo
Like Charlie, the mouse and the main character in Bubbles & Gondola, I suffer from writer’s vertigo. From article to blog posts to novels and short stories, it feels like I have too much to do at times. It’s dizzying. And while Bubbles & Gondola doesn’t portray that being a problem for Charlie, it does show that he has a problem getting motivated, something I have problems with.
It would be hard enough if I had problems getting motivated solely because of the amount of projects I had to tackle, seeing as this will sometimes immobilize me because I don’t know what to start on first, but I also have to deal with fears whether my writing is good enough. This imposter syndrome ways down on me, making me doubt my writing abilities and my accomplishments. It’s acted as a blockade, preventing me from just writing a novel or short story.
So, like Charlie, sometimes I find myself wasting time around the house, because I can’t deal with the dizzying vertigo of so many projects at once, or I lack of faith in my writing abilities.
And yet, we all have to step out of our comfort zones. This applies to writers and non-writers alike, as we put one foot forward each day. Writing isn’t comfortable. I wish it was. Rewarding? Yes. But more often than not it can be thankless. Though many people may not thank us, we can at least thank ourselves for pushing forward and overcoming our fear of writers heights.