Spinning and Tilting While Rewriting

Not spinning as in exercising on a bicycle or as in making yarn or as in weaving a tale.

And not tilting at windmills.

I’m talking about head spinning, room tilting and stomach heaving. 


I have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) which means inside my head the room is tilting and spinning and I walk like a drunken sailor, weaving and bouncing off walls. 

The spinning and tilting are triggered by sudden head movements up, down, to the side, and rolling over in bed but the nausea is constant.  

The Cure

The cure is a little bit of the hair of the dog kind of thing. It’s an exercise called the Epley Maneuver, a series of head movements that often bring on the symptoms. Not fun.

The Rewriting

The BPPV came out of nowhere. The next day I received my editor’s editorial letter with suggestions for changes that would require substantial rewrites threaded through the entire 90,000+ word manuscript. My choice whether to make the changes, of course.

The changes would make the book better. But I was overwhelmed. A negative tape started playing continuously in my head–I don’t know how to do this, maybe I should just forget it, whatever made me think I could be a writer.

The Solution

After struggling for several days, I woke one morning and realized these changes are like any other. Start at the beginning, evaluate each sentence and modify if required. A lot of work but definitely doable. I decided I wanted the book to be the best it could be.

So, constantly nauseous, sometimes dizzy, I’ve been rewriting for the last two weeks, making steady progress. And then, this morning I opened my eyes, not dizzy, not tilting, not nauseous. I’m afraid to declare victory but I think the BPPV is gone.

Was my crisis in confidence because I felt so terrible?  I’m not sure. But this episode taught me that I probably could rewrite on a raft in the ocean during a hurricane. It also reminded me rewriting isn’t overwhelming if you take it word by word, sentence by sentence. 

What say you readers, authors. Any lessons from adversity?

Catherine Maiorisi

Catherine Maiorisi is the author of the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker–two tough women, fighting each other while solving high profile crimes. A Matter of BloodThe Blood Runs ColdA Message in Blood, and Legacy in the Blood are all available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks narrated by Abby Craden.  

In addition to publishing multiple mystery and romance short stories in various anthologies, Catherine has authored four romances novels. Her latest book, The Disappearance of Lindy James, was awarded a GOLDIE for Best General Fiction.


  1. I cannot imagine.

    But if it makes you feel better I realized in past few days that current WIP needs a major overhaul. Grateful that realization came soon after I gave first draft a rest and not further down the line. Shall start working on it Monday.

  2. Catherine, I’ve had vertigo at times and had to do the Epley maneuver— a definite ugly solution.
    I’m hoping you are on firm footing now. And congratulations for putting one foot in front of the other and persevering.

  3. I talk to my students so frequently about that sort of perseverance. I’m convinced (or perhaps I just hope) that the best sort of writing comes out of that struggle because it forces us to reach deep. I’m glad you’re feeling better!

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