Imagination doesn't just mean making things up. It means thinking things through, solving [problems] or hoping to do so, and being just distant enough to be able to laugh at things that are normally painful. [Some people] would call this escapism, but they would be be entirely wrong. I would call fantasy the most serious, and the most useful branch of writing there is.
--Diana Wynne Jones

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Writerly Life: Yes, We are (All) Totally Mental

Are writers all crazy?


I mean, we (some of us) work for free.

And if we are honest with ourselves, we expect that to continue to happen for at least ten years (unless we are Stephanie Meyer).

And we all know we may never get paid a single penny, even after twenty years.

Honestly, what sane person would do that?


  • we live in imaginary worlds where dragons exist and eleven-year-olds can save the world from utter destruction;

  • we do things like spend all day deciding in what order to arrange seven words;

  • and then tomorrow we erase all seven because they were stupid.

My theory: most (all?) writers suffer from
  • ADD (what other job would zoned-out, dreamy, late, always-getting-lost people like us not get fired from?),
  • OCD (how else could we spend twelve hours a day for months working and reworking scenes and sentences if we couldn't And then act out our a compulsion to write? How many authors have you heard say they "can't not write"?),

  •  (mostly likely) SERIOUS DEPRESSION. (Well, it goes with being sensitive enough to write something emotionally powerful.)

What do you think?

It's just a hunch.

But if not, how do you explain all those people at writing conferences who have the same freaked-out OCD hand-washing ritual--involving too-many-paper-towels-and-when-you-can-turn-off-the-faucet-and-how-you- can-open-the-door--that I have? 

Yep. I believe we're ALL crazy. Musicians and artists, too.
We only do this stuff because we HAVE to. Like we have to wash our hands.


Any sane person would have quit before she'd started.


  1. Amen. Amen. A thousand times, amen.

  2. hi, hope it's ok to contact you here. we would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: giveaway scout ( have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, josh

  3. So very true! I think sometimes I want to escape my head because of all the chaos happening there but then I get a new idea and I'm in love again. =]


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