Writers Are A Special Kind of Crazy

Are creative types all crazy?

Despite the stereotype, most neurscientists say they aren’t crazier than the rest of the general population. But the Hollywood Reporter has a great piece about doctors in LA LA land.  Apparently, not that many actors are narcissists and agents tend to be caretakers–fast talking, manipulative, balls-to-the-wall caretakers, but still.

And check out this funny bit from the article:


That got me thinking about mental illness and writers. Let’s face it, we are kinda crazy but a special kind of crazy. We actually listen to the voices in our heads. We don’t just listen, we build entire worlds around the voices in our heads. We tune out the real world to focus on the fictional.

I do this a lot. Ask my husband. He’ll tell me something and I’ll nod like I’m listening but in reality I am working out a bit of dialogue or wondering if it’s too much to have a guy make out with triplets. (Yes, it was. In case you’re wondering.)

All this internalizing means I have trouble focussing  on everyday tasks but I like things I can do without really thinking, like folding laundry and walking dogs. That way the real world is put on pause and I can listen to the voices in my brain.

Now, some might say this is schizophrenia. I’m not a doctor and I try not to play one in my novels but they may be right. Apparently, that’s one of the mental illnesses common among writers. So are mood disorders like depression and bipolar. I get that. Depression makes sense because you literally live inside your head and barely come up for air. Without context from an external world, it’s easy to spiral.

Bipolar I get too. A good review. A fragment of encouragement and I am over the moon. A bad review and I want to go fetal. (Special thanks to the person who posted the review on Amazon “I hate this book.” Can’t argue with the editing.)

Writers are very vulnerable because it’s our vision, our universe, our souls on the page. (Okay, that last bit was too much but I like to write in threes.) It’s probably the same for musicians and actors and other creative types except they can get immediate feedback from live audiences. Writers do their jobs in a tiny room and wait and hope and pray (see, three again!) that someone will notice. And validate them.

I’m waiting, people.

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