Friday, July 27, 2007

Do You Have to Be Crazy to Be a Writer?

Creativity and/or high IQ are often associated with mental illness. I see the connections made in popular literature, writer's resources, and even professional journals. No one is certain about it, though. Which probably means that nobody ever got a grant to do a statistical study.

Of course, mental illness is not exclusive to writers or the highly intelligent. There are insane people who are not very smart, and criminals who are brilliant underachievers (true of many writers), just as there are intelligent people who are really bughouse. And certainly we've all seen our share of writing that proves that a given writer is nuts.

And then there are books that make you wonder if the publisher was nuts.

Anyway, it all leads to a question we writers are fond of asking one another: "Do you have to be crazy to be a writer, or does writing make you crazy?"

Personally, I think all writers are a bit off ... and I believe a touch of Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is necessary if you're going to write a book with any alacrity. But writing can make you crazy in several ways. Repeated rejection of a good manuscript or idea, late payment, no payment, disappearing editors (a topic for a future post of its own), plagiarism, writer’s block ... but then, each career or avocation has its drawbacks.
Copyright © 2007, Michael A. Banks

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