Throughout history, artists have been associated with mental disorders. While many artists have been linked to schizophrenia, writers have been known to suffer from stress or anxiety disorders . In fact, a recent study found that professional writers were 121% more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder than the rest of the population.
at some point in their lives Many of the best writers in our history have suffered from mood disorders or have suffered from disorders throughout their lives. So it’s not surprising that the debate over whether creativity or genius is related to mental instability continues to rage.
The author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina would be proud that his novels are still considered masterpieces of world literature . These two are irrefutable proof of the perfectionism and exhaustiveness with which Tolstoy undertook his creations. Less well known, however, is his essay “My Confession,” in which he recounts his depressive crisis , how it affected him and how he felt .
Over time, as he reached middle age, his depression worsened. He was too preoccupied with his success and began to donate his possessions. He later criticized himself, berating himself for not having the courage to commit suicide.
Hemingway famously won the Nobel Prize for his novel The Old Man and the Sea, who himself said that he suffered from depression , bipolar disorder, had borderline and narcissistic personality traits, and later suffered from psychosis . Instead of seeking help from doctors, Hemingway unfortunately engaged in self-medication with alcohol.
He participated in various high-risk activities, such as deep-sea fishing or dodging bullets as a war correspondent. As is usually the case, he had a genetic predisposition to depression. His genealogical tree was filled with relatives who suffered from depression, many of whom committed suicide. And, as if it were a prediction, Ernest also committed suicide with a shotgun on July 2, 1961.
“Mrs. Dalloway” and “To the Lighthouse” are two of Wolfe’s best-known works. When she was in her twenties, she was prone to nervous breakdowns, which today can be understood as panic attacks. It is believed that they were caused by an episode of sexual abuse to which he was subjected as a child.
After finishing his last novel, Between Acts, Wolfe fell into a severe depression . The loss of his London home during World War II contributed to his deteriorating mental health . In 1941 he stuffed his pockets with rocks, stepped into a river near his home, and drowned.
Philip K. Dick
Dick is perhaps the most visionary writer of the last century . His works are some of the most adapted science fiction classics in recent movie history. Films such as Blade Runner, A Certain Opinion and To Remember Everything are just three of the stories adapted from his novels and short stories that he wrote.
As a teenager, Dick suffered from vertigo. As he grew older, he began to develop symptoms of schizophrenia, such as visual and auditory hallucinations . So he was hospitalized, but somehow there he managed to continue writing. In fact, he wrote a novel called “Sivainvi,” which describes the theological quest of the Fat Horse Lover after he was hit by a pink laser beam, which he identified as a source of knowledge. Dick sometimes referred to this pink laser, saying that it transmitted it directly into his mind.
Kafka was such a fine example of writing that even the term “Kafka” is part of our language. “The Trial” and “The Transfiguration” are two of his most famous stories. Franz was a loner, a genius who suffered from social anxiety and depression . He had turbulent relationships with family members. Apparently he suffered from unbearable jealousy of his brothers, whom he wished dead. Unfortunately, two of them later died a natural death, and Franz was unable to cope with the guilt. He also had a strained relationship with his father, which was constantly reflected in his work.
Writing was an obsession for him; he finished some works, such as El Huicio, in just eight hours. In the midst of this chaos, he had an unrequited love that caused him to become depressed. From there, locked in his room, unable to get out, he began to create the image of Gregorio Zamza .
He also felt very insecure about his writings, which he asked to be destroyed after his death. However, his best friend ignored him and published most of his documents. Among them were his diaries where he mentioned the hell and the helplessness that loneliness gave him.
This author published a collection of poems and a novel only in his lifetime under the pseudonym of Victoria Lucas. A novel called Under the Glass Hood was published the same year he committed suicide by turning on the gas and inhaling carbon monoxide. It is a literary chronicle of his nervous depression, his electroshock treatment, his previous suicide attempt and his supposed recovery. The work was also set in the ’70s as a feminist icon, as it also critiqued the options that women of the time had.
Sylvia suffered from bipolar affective disorder, a condition in which the risk of suicide was 30 times higher than in the general population.
The famous author of “Steppenwolf” or “Siddhartha” had numerous conflicts with his parents, which caused him to move constantly between institutions. Later, between 1915 and 1919, he fell into a period of depression caused by the death of his father, the illness of his son, and the schizophrenic crisis of his wife. The meaning of life was then raised by having suicidal thoughts and attempts to commit it.
It was then that he decided to go to psychoanalytic therapy with J. B. Lang, a disciple of Carl Gustav Jung, who years later also became his therapist. During this crisis, Hermann wrote The Demian, a work that reflected all the inner imbalances and the search for healing. What was for him was the publication of this novel, albeit temporarily.
Edgar Allan Poe.
Poe is considered the best author of horror stories. He had an unstable and somewhat eccentric personality, for which he was branded as flawed, degenerate or insane . The reality, however, was that he suffered from a severe mental disorder.
There is a syndrome that many aspiring writers suffer from. It is a syndrome that is easy to diagnose because its symptoms are very obvious. It is the lazy writer syndrome.
Today we are going to describe the symptoms of this syndrome. Check yourself (and your writing) to see if you have it.
lazy writer syndrome.
Let’s start at the beginning, what is the symptom of a lazy writer?
Lazy writer syndrome is one that causes you to not spend enough time writing or your writing is not of the desired quality. Lazy writer’s syndrome means that you haven’t started writing that novel whose idea has been bugging you for years, or worse, you still haven’t finished it even though you’ve been working on it for months. Lazy Writer Syndrome is something that makes you get stuck in the middle of your work, that you are an expert procrastinator, or that you only read one book a month.
Do you have these symptoms? Do you recognize yourself in any of these cases? In more than one?
So, you have lazy writer’s syndrome.
But let’s go over it piece by piece. Let’s look at the symptoms one by one.
Not writing daily.
Being a writer requires, first of all, a commitment to yourself and to writing . This commitment goes before you start writing better and start writing your first stories or your first novel. This commitment will be what allows you to move forward with your writing and make the effort (yes, we said effort) you need.
When that commitment is absent or weak, the first symptom appears: you don’t write daily.
We know your excuses: you talk about lack of time or lack of inspiration. Or in very persistent cases, both: you have neither time nor inspiration.
If you claim a lack of time
Let us reveal to you the obvious truth: there are twenty-four hours in the day for everyone.
He has them for those people you admire because they can do many things: work, have children, cook, play sports, publish novels with remarkable frequency, blog and post three times a day on their social networks.
But there are twenty-four hours in the day for you, too. It’s a matter of prioritization. And it’s a matter of organization .
Decide what place you want writing to occupy in your life. And then organize your time and your tasks according to that place.
If you want writing to have an important place in your life, organize yourself to make it so. There will be things that go into the background and others that disappear off the map. If you want something, it will cost you money. Not anymore.
If you claim to be lacking in inspiration.
Let’s now with the second excuse: lack of inspiration.
Do you remember Picasso’s famous line, “When inspiration comes, let it catch me at work”? That is the great truth of art. You can print out the phrase and hang it on the wall in front of your desk.
If you wait for moments of inspiration to start writing, you will be very slow in your career and in your work.
Also, inspiration is like a muscle, and the more you work, the stronger it becomes. If you never write, you will never be inspired; but if you write daily, you will find that ideas and writing flow with great flow.
How lazy is it to start learning, right? You don’t want to do it.
If you have lazy writer’s syndrome, you’ll think you don’t need to learn how to write. You’ve already learned how to write in school (true, you make some spelling mistakes), but enough of what you know.
Well, no. Writing is a job. And, in that way, you learn.
You have two ways to learn it.
Read a book a week and write every day.
The first is reading and writing. We don’t just mean reading writing guides, that too. We’re also talking about reading great works by great authors. We’ve already talked here about reading to become a better writer .
Also take our recommendation: read at least one book a week . Have you missed it? Read the first point again.
Since you are learning to write by writing, let’s go back to the beginning: you must write every day .
Through this double exercise, reading a book a week and writing every day, you can learn to write and do it better and better.
Take a writing course
The second option is to enroll in a writing course.
Be careful, this option does not work by itself. It should be combined with the reading and writing diet we just recommended.
But taking a writing course will give a good boost to your technique, style, and knowledge of narratology (these are necessary if you want to become a writer).
Here are the other benefits of the writing course .
You love writing, don’t you? It feels so good… You wake up with some idea in your head and as soon as you get a spare minute, you sit down to write it down.
There it goes. It’s almost compulsive, you type in a frenzy as scenes, descriptions and dialogue fly out of your mind. You allow yourself to be carried away by the story like a huge wave of pleasure.
Do you recognize yourself? Well, you have one of the symptoms of a lazy writer: lack of planning.
If you write as we’ve described, sooner rather than later, you’ll find yourself stopping, not knowing where to continue. It’s as if you were running, not knowing the way, and suddenly stopped, out of breath, in the middle of a field. Where were you going, what is the path, where should you continue?
Writing requires planning . It requires you to be clear about the parts of your story and its key moments. It requires you to draw a map, however superficial, of the story you want to tell and the path you intend to take.
You must take advantage of this first moment, when the story comes to you, to take notes instead of writing. Immerse yourself in the story, in the characters. Apply what you know about how fiction text works (oh, you know nothing? Do you see how important it is to learn?) to map out plot, character development, conflict, plot idea, etc.
We already know, it all seems like a bun to you. You’re a little lazy and prefer to skip it and go about your day. You don’t think writing should require any effort (if it does, we recommend reading Franz Kafka’s diaries, they will convince you otherwise). You have lazy writer’s syndrome.
Don’t correct or revise.
An author suffering from lazy writer’s syndrome considers spelling, grammar, and good syntax secondary. What matters is the story, and if someone points out an error in your writing, it’s because they are a pejiguero who doesn’t know how to focus on the essentials.
If the reader is really interested in the story, he or she will forgive lack of emphasis, poor punctuation, and will make the effort to unravel verbose and poorly structured sentences. That is, when you have lazy writer’s syndrome, you expect the reader to make an effort that you are not prepared to make.
You know what the worst part is? That when lazy writer’s syndrome means that the pitch of your text doesn’t matter to you, then in general the text fails not only in that aspect, but usually in everything: in structure, in the use of language, in style, etc.
Laziness prevents you from reviewing the text and polishing off its flaws (whatever they may be). Let it be the reader, who will put some willpower on your part, you have certainly already accomplished.
Well, in this way you show very little respect for the reader (whether it’s someone who visits your blog, your sister you asked to read your latest story, the contest jury, or the editor you send your text to). Even worse, you show very little respect for your work.
Correct, revise, and correct again . Don’t give away for reading something that is certainly not even a draft.
We hope that you do not have any of these symptoms and that you are not susceptible to this terrible disease. If so, follow the advice we gave you above and you’ll see it all come back.
Above all, stay with this idea: writing takes effort. Writing takes commitment and dedication. Writing is hard work (though extremely rewarding).
If people knew more about how demanding writing is, there would be fewer writers.
If you are not willing to accept these truths, you will never be a good writer. You will be stuck at the entry level. But if you believe that writing is much more than just an after-dinner activity, the rewards that await you will be many.