Why Writers Are Crazy

After busting a few writing myths it got me thinking about why writers are often seen as crazy – by others and themselves. Is there something about writing that leads people to become unhinged? Or do you have to be crazy to be a writer in the first place?

Myths About Writing

People have strange ideas about writing. Some of those people are writers.

You can understand non-writers being baffled by the whole writing thing: the alchemy of transforming words into a world that transports the reader. From the outside it seems like magic. You open a book and begin to read: the ordinary world fades and into your mind springs another, complete with characters who seem so real you half expect to run into them in Tesco buying cornflakes or bratwurst or the latest copy of Cosmo.

This magical thinking can infect writers too, especially when they first start out. Writers can suffer from impossibly high expectations, or perhaps delusional fantasies, of what writing is really about. 

Books for Writers

A selection of recommended books on Writing. These are some of the books I’ve found particularly helpful over the years.

40 Rules for Writers

There are loads of rules for writers, ranging from profound wisdom to statements of the obvious. I’ve gathered together some of my favourites here, plus a few inspiring quotes. When I start to doubt myself or just need a confidence boost, I turn to advice like this to get me moving again. I hope it helps you do the same…

Why Do Writers Write?

I know the exact day I became a writer. It was Friday 23rd April 2004 and I was walking to work. As I dodged the rush hour traffic, a story unspooled into my mind that was so compelling I knew I must write it down. I arrived at work, grabbed some paper and scribbled down the scenes in a frenzy.

This had never happened before. I stared at the barely legible scrawl and wondered if I was possessed. The story was about a woman trying to find her way out of a confusing situation. No surprise there. But then I realised it was based on the Buddhist idea of the realms of samsara. I had been reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche and it must have taken root. In an attempt to process and understand this complex Buddhist cosmology, my unconscious had created a waking dream. And I walked right into it.