Writers Be Crazy

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What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

Years and years ago, I was whining about some injustice in my life and my best friend informed me of the age-old rule-- writers must suffer. 

Anguish and madness seem to be the accessories that set off creativity like the right brooch makes a plain blouse pop. The greater the degree of madness, the greater the creative output. 

Need examples? Here's just a short list of sufferers off the top of my head...

Sylvia Plath...suicidal
Ernest Hemingway...alcohol; suicidal
Edgar Alan Poe...drug abuser
Virginia Woolf...suicide
Truman Capote...alcoholic; recluse
Leo Tolstoy...depression

Now, I was in my teens when my friend informed me of this writing rule. I should have grabbed the first exit off the Novel Highway, but we all know writing is its own addiction, and I wasn't going to veer from my path. So, when life gets crazy, I remind myself, I asked for this. 

Suffering is fodder for a story later. 


This month's insecurity? Being too busy to remember crap. My mother has been ill, so that means more hospital visits and care-taker duties. Pair that with the holidays, and I have an inbox of 2000+ unread messages. I know 1,950 of them are spam and garbage, but I need to wade through them to get to the good stuff. And anytime I am overwhelmed, I always have that fear of forgetting-- like that age-old dream of showing up for a test in your pajamas. 

Geesh, I hate that feeling! 

Then a few weeks ago, I missed a Facebook takeover. I'd been at the ER with my mom and just completely forgot to check my calendar and totally blew it. 

I hate it when that happens. Screw up once and then suffer a year's worth of insecurity that you're missing something important. 

So, what about you? Feel crazy when you're overwhelmed, or just crazy in general?

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and his awesome co-hosts for the January 4 posting!
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