Category Archives: Crazy Writers

Writer’s Angst


BECOME A WRITERWhen I read about the tormented lives of some of the world’s great writers, I can’t help thinking that I may be too normal to make it as an author. Oh sure, I have my strange little quirks. Just ask my wife. Okay…no, on second thought don’t do that.

But Hemingway, Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell…oh hell, I could go on and on. Hemingway, as you know, was an alcoholic and probably a manic depressive. He wound up blowing his head off with both barrels of a shotgun. Orwell was a genius, of course. Just read ‘1984’ if you don’t believe me. But he’s another depressed author whose writing is filled with sadness and misery.

Tennessee Williams was a brilliant playwright but there again, torment and angst. A lot of it having to do with repressed homosexuality. He finally had a complete mental breakdown and died a few years later.

This would be too long a post if I was going to name them all. Suffice it say that the lives of the great writers was very often filled with depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, violence and suicide. And sometimes total and complete insanity.

And yet here I sit in my, not yet completed, writing room. I’m not an alcoholic, although I did have a beer with my dinner. Mmmm…Fat Tire. But no, one beer doesn’t do it. And I’m not depressed. I was a little unhappy yesterday because I broke the windshield on my car. Yeah, like a dumbass I was loading some wood into the SUV and…oops! That doesn’t count, though, does it? I don’t take drugs. Hell, I don’t even smoke legal cigarettes. And I have  absolutely no intention of committing suicide. Should I even be bothering to write? I mean, can I turn out meaningful pros when I live such a dull and uninteresting life? Angst, I need angst!

But then again, J.K. Rawlings doesn’t seem crazy. And she’s certainly successful. I just read that her net worth is one billion dollars. Yes, you read that correctly. She’s not a starving artist and doesn’t seem to be filled with angst. Just money. Lots of money.

Of course, some would argue that she’s not a genius in comparison with let’s say, Jack Kerouac. He’s another tormented soul who finally died due to excessive drinking. And some internal bleeding due to a bar fight he’d been in a few days before didn’t help.

But maybe there is some internal strife going on that causes my need to write. Maybe I am tormented and I don’t want to admit it. You know, that’s probably it. It would explain a lot. Like I told you, my wife certainly thinks I’m crazy. So do my kids. And I’ll bet a lot of other people I know think so too. It’s just that, unlike my wife and kids they’re too nice to tell me.

I’m going to get back to my writing, now. I may have a shot at fame, yet!

Are Writers Crazy?


Why do I write? Why do I allow myself to agonize over typing words onto this laptop screen? I really don’t know. But it seems that I need to do it.

It can’t be because I’m hoping to get rich by doing this. Let’s face it; I’m sixty-three years old. According to Amanda, who heads our Twisted Writers writing group, you need about ten titles out there before you really start to see a significant amount of money from your efforts. I’ll never get ten books out at the rate that I write. I’ll be about eighty or so by that time. Closer to ninety most likely.

So, why bother? Why put up with the writer’s block that makes me want to scream, sometimes. Why drive myself crazy from the pressure of trying to finish a novel or a short story? Why do I subject myself to the indignity of hoping that someone likes what I’ve written? I don’t know, but I seem to like it.

It doesn’t really make sense. There are more reasons not to do it than to do it. When I’m trying to write and the words just aren’t coming it can put me into the sourest of moods. And so I stop and then I’m in a lousy mood because I’m not writing. It’s like I’m out of my mind.

But when it’s working and the thoughts are flowing out onto the white surface in front of me then all is right with the world. You may not be able to tell by looking at me as I write, because I may look the same as I do when I’m in a bad mood. But it’s different. This time it’s because I’m not here. You only see my body. My mind has passed over into another plain of thought. You should never bother a writer when they are in this mental state. It’s like waking a sleep-walker. It can be dangerous. You never know what they’ll do! Again, it’s like being out of your mind.

So, I have to ask myself that question again. Why do I want to do this? Is it because I am out of my mind? So, is that the answer? Are all writers, nuts?

No. I don’t think so. I actually think that we have to write to keep from going crazy. We are people with vivid imaginations. We have characters in our heads and even entire worlds and stories about it all that have to be let out. If we don’t…then we start going crazy.

Of course, having people in your head who need to come out may very well be one of the definitions of what crazy is!

So, okay. Maybe we are a little off. But walk into a library or a book store and look at all that great stuff written by all of those lunatics. It’s a good crazy. With the condition that the world is in, maybe everybody should sit down and let all of their stories out of their heads.