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AYOW: Does writing make you insane?

My fellow Oorteroonies,

Yesterday was a tough writing day for me. I was dealing with some heavy scenes and it was the end of a bad week (if you live in the Northeast of the U.S., I know you feel me on this one). When I get into writing I get so far up into my skull it often takes some monumental efforts to get back down. Kind of like getting trapped in a very cluttered, warren-like attic. Or my basement. Writing is itself a solitary act. So much time spent alone can make someone a little tense.

Thus, my question: Does writing make one insane? Discuss, and provide examples.

- Chang.

Crazy is as crazy does

I think I was crazy before I started writing, way back when I was 6 or 7 years old.

Writing does drive me crazy sometimes, when my mind is cloudy or I'm tired or sick or _fill in the blank_. Working on a daily newspaper really helped me endure those times of insanity, though. Three or four stories a day will turn pretty much anybody into a word machine. A word machine and a tiresome veteran who always coughs up his years in the trenches whenever anybody says anything is tough. . .

Yes, writing is tough. It's why so many of us drink.

A quote from Stephen King

A quote from Stephen King comes to mind here. "For most creative people, the imagination serves as an excretory channel for violence: We visualize what we will never actually do." I think this can be extended to most other forms of anti-social behavior as well. So if anything I think writing is more of a prevention against insanity than a cause. An outlet for the day-to-day stresses of life.
You make a persuasive argument. And by that, I mean there are more of you and you are using that to coerce me into obeying your moral code. - Belkar

Writing does not make one insane, insanity makes one insane.


I think that we've all been where you are. My trick has been to make the writing act a little less solitary.
I used to write solely from my workspace computer, which is jammed in the corner in the back of the
office area- very private, but very isolating.

Recently, I've taken to using an old iBook that I got from a clearance sale. It has almost no software
loaded on it except for the word processor. I take it out to the living room or the kitchen or to the
coffee shop. It's less productive at first, but it's made me much happier. Just being able to look up
and see another face reminds you that you aren't alone.


every wall collapses, given enough time.

kelson.philo's picture

I think that any activity

I think that any activity that requires you to be so focused that the outside world tends to disappear can lead to sparring with madness. Of course, there's a chance that a person who feels called to creative endeavors is prone the sanity fight in the first place, and maybe their personal metaverse is as fine a place as ever to work things out. I'm pretty sure that Walter Mitty's Secret Life was a coping mechanism as much as anything...


I think it's a kind of insanity that leads to the desire to write!