I have often told people that I write to keep my sanity, and generally speaking this is true. Writing gives me purpose and direction in life. And yet, by some strange paradox, it also helps me to lose my sanity. Writing is about trying to keep our sanity while losing our sanity.
A good idea germinates in our minds. We nourish that idea, writing daily so that the roots of our idea may grow into a short story or a novel. All seems to be going well at first. We put our thoughts on paper. Our stress melts away. Then we face writer’s block. We do everything we can to chisel down or to blow to pieces this wall that has formed in our minds. Sometimes it takes years for this block to crumble. At other times we don’t have writer’s block, but we keep rewriting our work. It’s never near completion, and when we think it is we find that such thoughts were premature. What had started out as a form of therapy turns into madness. Never enough, never enough!
So, we write initially because it’s a form of therapy, a stress reducer. Ironically, it becomes stressful. After it becomes stressful, what do we do? We continue the writing process in order to save our sanity. It’s a full circle. In other words, we lose our sanity if we don’t write and we lose our sanity if we do write.
In the end, it all comes down to balance. There are times we have to write to save our sanity and there are times we have to step away from the keyboard or pen and paper to save it. We writers can be an extreme bunch, just as extreme as any other creative type. One thing many of us have to learn is the importance of moderation. Only through moderation, giving ourselves the proper amount of time to write and the proper amount of time to take a break and engage in our hobbies can we write effectively and keep our sanity.
Then again, maybe losing one’s sanity is a prerequisite for being a writer. History seems to indicate as much.