I’ve been feeling a bit lost in the rewrite of a long project at the moment, consumed with the usual questions (Is this the right project? Am I writing too much? Am I writing too little? Do I have any writing ability in the first place? Should I be doing something else? What would be better/easier/more commercial? etc). Luckily, I know some people and when it gets too much, I can meet up for a coffee with them and we swap notes. What I find in these situations isn’t that I get useful information from them or they show me the way out of the hole, just that everyone has their own manias and while I may be struggling with structure, someone else is struggling with piles of research. Everyone writes in a different way, which means the problems are both specific and universal. No-one is sure that they’re doing the right thing, we’re all guided by instinct, scrabbling around in the dark.
There’s that old saying about if everyone were to come together and put their worries in a pile, everyone would take their own ones home with them (I’m paraphrasing here, from a half-remembered episode of “The Office”). I may sometimes want to tear what little hair I have out of my head due to what I’m working on, but I’d rather that than stacks of research on Iranian architecture that I don’t know what to do with.