The Unbearable Madness of Writing

I recently read an article about a study that substantiates the popular notion that  creativity is linked to mental illness. It says (in part) that they found that writers and their family members had a higher than average incidence of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism.

Duh.

Writers are crazy.

Sometimes bat-shit crazy.

If you are not a writer, imagine for a moment the level of writhing, itching obsession that would compel you to squirrel away in your room for months—no years—no decades–scribbling on and on about made-up worlds and imaginary people. Who does that? Why?

Seriously. Why?

It ain’t for the fame, money or glory. The odds are too long on that buggy race—no matter how delusional those creative types might be.

No, it’s a sick compulsion; a distinct flavor of crazy that is a subtle blend of delicious, delirious dementia with a dash of mania and a flake of lunacy.

So, if you are a writer, well—good luck.

And if you just happen to know one, give them a hug or something. They probably need it.

6 Comments

  1. In about a week, I will have two completed works to publish. The first one I wrote is a devotional autobiography about my life as a pastor living with a mental illness. The second one is a screenplay about a modern-day Puritan whose wife leaves him for a lottery winner. I’ve found a publisher for the devotional book, but I’m reluctant to come out with that one first. I’d rather establish myself first as a writer, then as a writer with a mental illness rather than first as a crazy person, then as a crazy person who writes books.

    Thanks for the post.

    1. Congratulations on your accomplishments–wow! Whichever way it works out, I wish you much success 🙂

  2. smhouk

    You are so right! There is a real “different drummer” feel to my life as a writer. I must also add a note for those young writers out there who might be discovering that they have an actual mental illness. In my experience with depression, having excellent mental health care including medication has made my writing possible. With it I can thrive as an artist and as a person. Without it, I do not write or live well. Dump the idea that untreated mental illness will make you a great artist. Not. It will just make you miserable. Getting care won’t dull your creativity. It will loose it on the world. I admit it: I’m “bat-shit crazy”. It’s who I am and it’s who I am as a writer. But I also ruthlessly manage my “bat-shit crazy” condition so that I win, not the disease. If you’ve got a mental illness, say “Amen” and then get treatment so that you can have your bat-shit and eat it, too.

    1. Oh absolutely Sharon, so well put. Such excellent points.

  3. mlochner3

    What about someone who is ‘bat-shit’ crazy but not a writer? I think that is how I roll. Ok, so maybe not full on bat-shit, maybe one level lower on the crazy scale….would that be just batty?

    1. Writer or not, if it makes you happy, you can be any flavor of crazy you like. And you can call it what you like too, cause that’s just how I roll. 😉

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