Friday, July 20, 2012

Why writers deserve their own personality disorder

It has been a crazy whoa-where-did-the-time-go couple of weeks, and yes, I suck at blogging. For future reference, if I say I’m going to blog on (fill in the blank), you can probably just add an extra week or two to that estimate. And if I say I’m going to blog about a certain something — yeah, I’ll probably forget about it.

Cut me a break, people. I survive on five hours of sleep most nights to feed this habit called writing.

My latest manuscript has been finished and is now sitting in the inbox (i.e. slushpile) of my editor for consideration. I tweaked it to death, hit SEND, and then suffered a moment of pure mental anguish. OMG, did I just hit send? Nooooooo! Maybe I should have read it one more time! Was it ready? I think it was ready. Buried my head in my hands. God, I hope it was ready.

Add this to the many quirks I have as a writer, and it kind of amazes me I’m not doped up on meds somewhere in a padded cell, babbling about the pretty wallpaper.

For example, I missed my calling in life to be independently wealthy, which means I’m chained to a cubicle in a 10-to-6 job Mondays through Fridays (give or take a little). I also spend part of my time in that position writing and part of that time designing and doing layout on ads, advertorials and magazines. One day this week — which one is a blur (insert maniacal laugh) — I was in the middle of throwing together an ad for a local Chamber of Commerce when I realized I was also talking to myself — yes, out loud — about the characters in my latest book. You know, like, having a conversation with myself and them.

Ha ha ha he.

The great thing about the Internet is that I’ve friended lots of other writers who assure me this behavior is not uncommon, which brings me back to the title of this post. Writers create fictional characters in their heads, spend tons and tons of time developing them, talking to them, talking to themselves…and this is okay?

We spend far too many hours thinking about ways to torture the characters we create and love because we need "conflict." Let's be honest — we're also paid to be liars, if we're paid at all. Many of us spend years and years writing away with no paycheck in sight and starving ourselves because we refuse to do anything else. Please explain that to me. I do it myself, and I don't understand! We work by ourselves in front of a glowy-square thing with, if we're lucky, a cat or dog hanging off the chair beside us to bounce feedback off of. Most of us are caffeine addicts because inspiration has a habit of striking when we should be sleeping, which leaves us looking like jacked-up junkies because we've had too many sodas/coffees/espressos in one day to ever sleep again. Plus, we’re not writing so that we can just read back to ourselves and giggle like little schoolgirls. Oh, no ma'am. We want you to read our masterpieces (which, let's face it, are never really masterpieces). Yes, you! And you over there, hiding behind the trees like a scared little girl. We want everyone to read it! The more attention we get, the more successful we feel, which is all kinds of ironic since most of us aren’t comfortable with that attention at all. Which, you guessed it, makes us Fifty Shades of crazy.

Sad thing is, I could go on and on and on adding to that list, but I won't because I'm so darn tired right now. There's no denying there's something wrong with all of us, so I wonder why we don’t have our own personality disorder classified in psychiatry? Or maybe we do. I don’t know. 

Maybe we're stuck in medical dictionaries right there beside Schizoid personality disorder. "Writers." I'm guessing they don't know what the hell to do with us either.

That said, my most favorite people are writers, and the world owes a lot of gratitude to them. Without writers there would have been no "Wizard of Oz," "Lord of the Rings" or even the Bible. 

That's why I don't mind being lumped in with the lot -- not at all. :-)


Veronica Scott said...

Excellent post! I know the feeling...good luck with the newest submission...

Angela Campbell said...

Thanks, Veronica!

Sue London said...

So true. Maybe we'll be in the next DSM.


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