Why Writers Are Always Depressed (the Short Version)

A lot has happened the last couple of days that has made me think about life and how it pertains to my writing. I had a period of time when I was working on my first novel that I was in a pretty bad place in my life. My writing has never been better than it was during that period of time in my life so I wonder, do I, as a writer, have to be in a state of perpetual depression to write really well? Well, let’s look at the facts. Some of the greatest writers in history were alcoholics, drug addicts and manic depressants. Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allen Poe and Truman Capote all  struggled with alcoholism. Ayn Rand was addicted to pain killers, for William S. Burroughs it was heroine and Sylvia Plath tried to kill herself for the first time when she was 19 and succeeded when she was 30. So what is it about the troubled life that makes our creative juices really flow? Researcher Jonah Lehrer wrote an article in the NY Times Magazine (1) stating that  brain function researchers have discovered the part of the brain active in depressive episodes is the same area we use for complex thought. So, by that thinking, our imaginations and depression go hand in hand. According to blogger Tanner Christensen in his Creative Something blog titled “The Link Between Depression and Creativity, and How It Can Be Good For You” (2) “When we ruminate, our brains are naturally drawn to things that are vital to our health. Pain and suffering are such immense experiences, even if they’re short-lived, that those who ruminate tend to loop through those painful experiences more often than those who don’t ” So, since we as creative types tend to be more sensitive to the world around us, we feel things more deeply and tend to dwell on them more frequently, which can lead to more creative thinking. So, in short, it appears that having some challenge in your life leads you to be a more creative writer. So, don’t be afraid to feel and channel that feeling into your work. Keep it real, fellow writers and stay tuned for another installment of tinyelephantsblog!


(1) www.nytimes.com

(2) http://www.creativesomething.net/post/55508909341/the-link-between-depression-and-creativity-and-how-it


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