Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Are Writers Neurotic?

My fellow Operation Awesome author Kelly Andrews wrote a great post the other day about how she feels that writers aren't really neurotic, as they often seem, but are actually very strong. I agree with her. This business would be impossible to stay in if you didn't have some degree of resilience, courage, strong work ethic, and downright sheer stubbornness :)

But I think the neurotic bits are there as well. And with good reason.

Think about it. Most people get a bit nuts when they are waiting for something big. When they are waiting to hear back on that job interview; waiting to hear if they got that part in the school play; waiting to see if that promotion is going to come through; waiting to see if the test results are positive or negative; waiting for Christmas morning; waiting to see if he/she will say yes or no :)

In instances such as those, we all get a little neurotic. And when you are a writer, your whole career is made up of these moments. Writing (for publication) is about 10% writing and 90% waiting.

Waiting for critiques to come back; waiting for query responses; waiting on revise/resub responses; waiting to hear back on editor submissions; waiting on contracts; waiting to see if your changes will be accepted; waiting to see your book for the first time; waiting on reviews to come in on that book; waiting for royalty statements and sales numbers.

Yes, it takes a very strong person to get through all that waiting and keep on going, especially when it's very often bad news at the end of it all. But when you look at all the big stuff a writer has to wait on (because really, every step of the way contains something major) it's no wonder that we have a tendency to be a bit neurotic :)

Though, perhaps neurotic is the wrong word. Are we fragile? Crippled by the things that we can't control? No. This business would crush us in a second if we were. But a bit obsessive, emotional, a little on the wacky side? Yeah, I think most of us are :D And really, with all we deal with, who wouldn't be? ;)

The difference is, we don't let it stop us. We don't let the waiting and the set backs and the disappointments and all the other parts that drive us nuts get in our way.

We can be neurotic, but we do it with strength, perseverance, and style :) We laugh through our tears and find a way to have fun with the waiting. We support each other and play with our craziness. We are neurotic, but it's a different brand of neurotic. We mix it with strength and courage and persistence. We have fun with it. We own it and work with it and through it.

So while I agree with Kelly that "we are strong and brave and resilient", I don't think that means that we aren't also neurotic :) I think most writers are a good mix of both.

1 comment:

Mel Chesley said...

Well said! I agree, we have to be a bit wacky and obsessive. Emotional, absolutely! It's nice to be able to share something like this with people who truly understand, though.