Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Writer Bipolar

I'm starting this post off with a disclaimer.  I have friends who are bipolar.  I know it's a serious issue.  I understand it can seriously impair the quality of people's lives.  It is serious and by writing a post entitled Writer Bipolar I am, in no way, trying to make light of people who really and truly are bipolar.

Whew, got that out of the way!  Writer Bipolar may not impair writer's ability to live their lives, but as my circle of writer friends grows I'm increasingly convinced it's something most writers experience.  Writers, almost all of them, seem to run a little hot and cold.  It stands to reason.  For those of you who aren't writers, a typical day often goes like this:

I have no time to write NO TIME.  It's entirely possible I'll never, ever have time again!  Much hand wringing follows. (Down)

One hour and ten minutes later--now I have time!  Hooray!  Tweet #amwriting. (Up)  Make tea, sit down, open up work in progress and....instantly develop a burning desire for cheesy popcorn.  Eat cheesy popcorn, wash hands, sit down, repeat (at least four times) until you realize cheesy popcorn is just an excuse not to write. (Down) 

Stare at keyboard for fifteen minutes.  Study your cuticles and try to ignore the siren call of the internet  (Further Down)  Realize you have nothing to say and you will probably never have anything to say ever again.  Begin to doubt your worth, as both a human being and a writer, (All the way Down).  BAM all of a sudden an idea hits you.  You're off and your fingers can barely keep up with your thoughts so you have to write it in a crazy typed shorthand so you can capture the ideas before they escape. (Way Up).  Reread what you wrote and realize your mother was right.  You are a genius and exceptionally pretty too, and if people don't like you it's just because they're jealous.  (All the way up on the ceiling Up).
You'll stay up on the ceiling until the next time you look at your work.  You'll pull up your masterpiece and realize it's beyond awful, worse than you could have possibly imagined (Down).  Except then you will edit and edit and edit and edit and edit until it's amazing again. (Up).

I'm going to end this post on an Up cycle, just like I've learned to end my writing days.  To all my amazing writer friends who experience the ups and downs of writing, keep at it, and make sure to end on an Up!  To all the people who love us and want us to be as Up as possible, here's a little word of advice.  Whatever you do, don't eat the last of the cheesy popcorn!

3 comments:

naida said...

'ignore the siren call of the internet'...lol...nice post!

SBJones said...

My younger sister is bi-polar so I know what your talking about. My first book, I had no distractions when I wrote it. No blog to post, none to comment on, no marketing and promotion rounds to make. It was easy to write.

Now it is very hard to get the time in, but the initial hoopla of launching my first book is starting to fade and the writing has returned.

What I have found is that I have to consciously go through a small routine before I can write. Shutting off all internet, turning off my phone, getting the glass of iced tea and putting on music and in 10-15 minutes the writing happens. But if I leave my email open or my phone buzzes me a tweet; it all de-rails and I never get to writing. The routine to get going is like taking meds. Right now without it, I can't function.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Naida!

SB, love the analogy of routine to meds. So true!