Why Are Writers Crazy?

grayscale photo of man walking in hole

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The isolation of working on my own is is something I’ve been wrestling with for some time, the last four years to be specific. I came across this post from Scott Snyder on Twitter which sums it up perfectly, so I thought I’d post it here:

“The other day when I was doing a Q & A, someone asked a version of the classic question, “why writers are so crazy? Is it a prerequisite?” I ran out of time before I could answer, but been meaning to post some thoughts as this is something i struggle with myself.

The thing with writing is that you spend all day alone, and to make something meaningful to you, you often have to spend that time staring at and exploring things that matter to you – things you hope for, things you’re deeply afraid of. About the world. About yourself.

If you do it professionally, no other job, you usually don’t see anyone all day. No social regulators. It’s an amazing thing, and there’s no better job, but it can also become an echo chamber, and lead to self destructive patterns b/c of the the material and the social isolation.

I don’t say this to excuse any bad behavior. On the contrary, I’m speaking more to aspiring writers more than anything, because I wish more writers had talked to me about this when I started. Over the years, I have admittedly gone down some dark rabbit holes with it

gotten lost in my head, been destructive to myself and people I care about, and I’ve tried to be pretty open about battles with depression and anxiety here. For me the bottom line is this: be aware of the pitfalls of writing. Because there’s NO romance in being the crazy writer.

None. Getting yourself into a black place, being cruel to yourself or those around you doesn’t help your writing. Write what scares you, what inspires you, be unflinching, but also make sure to get out of your own head, take care of those around you, and yourself.

sorry for the length of this thread, it’s just something I wish I’d understood better at when I was younger (and still struggle with sometimes) and see romanticized or excused sometimes in a way that I worry stops people from getting healthy”

I can especially relate to his thoughts on getting lost in my own head and creating an impenetrable echo chamber. There are periods of time when I don’t interact with anyone in a meaningful way, sometimes for days at a time, and that’s when the dark thoughts creep in. I lose that third party perspective. The shadows in the corner of the room start to take on oppressive qualities, and the plans that they have for me are……(struggling to come up with the right word here)….destructive.

I’m finding that the only way (or at least the only way for me) is to get out of the house and put myself in social situations, no matter how uncomfortable or how much social anxiety I feel. If I don’t, then I lose that social perspective and end up feeling weird all the time, which I think is not really conducive to good writing. It’s makes my thoughts way too dark and it comes out in my writing.

It’s not necessarily all gloom and doom, however it is something I need to manage carefully going forward….

 

…………………

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