The Insanity of a Writer — Yep, it’s a GOOD Thing

To be an author, you have to be a little bit crazy.

First off, you have to believe you have something worth saying — so much so that others should devote their time and hard-earned coin to hear or read it. You have to truly believe that you’re different from the masses. “Special.” (Just like everyone else).Dangerous patient

Then, you have to devote an insane amount of time to the actual telling of your story. You give up what “normal” people are doing to instead lock yourself inside your already considerably disturbed head (cause let’s face it, if you’re a writer, there’s no question about your mental instability). You revise draft after draft in an attempt to lay out your vision, all the while knowing it will never come out as perfectly as it is in your head.

Then, after all that labor of blood, sweat and a deluge of tears, you submit your masterpiece only to discover that no one cares, you’re not as good as you think you are, and you’re destined just to be another colorless fish in a vast ocean.

So all that’s good, right? I mean, we can stay sane throughout that process. But what makes us absolutely bonkers is that we do it all again.

And again.

And again …

Call it an addiction, a drug, a need … call it therapy or mental stimulation … call it a calling, a career (HA!), a compulsion or a complex … But in the end, the reason or excuse doesn’t really matter. We write because we must. We create.
Are you insaneWe bring order to chaos (or chaos to order) and in so doing, the world aligns itself a little closer to something we can consider manageable. It’s who we are, and if that mean’s we’re a little insane and maybe talk to ourselves, or write down bits of conversation when we’re out in public or plot ideas that come to us in the middle of the night, or get a huge smile on our face at a positive review or comment or email, or scream in delight when a break-through hits in a tough spot of writing, well, just remember: we never said we were normal.

The good thing is, we have each other. Other authors who have gone through the same ups and crazy downs. We have our readers, who through some cosmic improbability not only discover our books floating (or sinking) out on that ocean, but even like them. And tell others about them. And, most importantly, we have … our insanity.

It keeps us going.

But just in case you’re thinking of giving up, or know an author who’s having a tough time, here’s a list of some amazing authors who were rejected more times than you might think possible before they “made it.”

  • Katheryn Stockett’s The Help ………………………..  rejected 60 times before publication
  • Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind …………  rejected 38 times before publication
  • Stephen King’s Carrie ………………………………….  rejected 30 times before publication
  • Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time …………..  rejected 28 times before publication
  • John Grisham’s A Time to Kill ……………………….  rejected 28 times before publication
  • Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook …………………….  rejected 24 times before publication
  • Frank Herbert’s Dune ………………………………….  rejected 23 times before publication
  • William Golding’s Lord of the Flies …………………  rejected 20 times before publication
  • J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter …………………………..  rejected 12 times before publication
  • Louie L’Amour ………………………………………  received 200 rejections before publication!!!

And then there are these:

  • Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected so many times the author self-published it. (It has now sold over 45 million copies)
  • WM Paul Young’s The Shack was rejected over 20 times until he self published it. (It has now sold over 15 million copies)
  • Jack London received over 600 rejections before selling a single story!

So when those little doubts of discouragement start to spread, pay them no heed! Just remind them that you’re a writer — you’re already crazy! And a voice of reason has no business within a mind that’s already cracked. Then get back to your writing.

Sources:

Buzfeed

LitRejections

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