Do I Have To Be Tortured To Be A Writer?

Do I Have To Be Tortured To Be A Writer?

I’ve actually mulled this question over for a long time. I always figured that I wasn’t nearly damaged enough to ever be a true writer of note. Oh, I can pull out the occasional well-written sentence but I’ve never felt that I had enough pain and suffering etched on my very soul to be as tragic as it seems I need to be.

How can I create amazing art with staying power if I don’t have deep dark depression, bipolar disorder, an addiction to opiates or a raging alcohol problem (no comments please).

As I’ve tried to dedicate more of my limited resources to writing I’ve realized that you don’t have to be tortured to start writing because you’ll be good and tortured by the time you finish.

To write honestly and uniquely, stuff starts to come up whether you like it or not. And, as well-balanced and adjusted as you may think you are going into it, you’ll find breaks, chips and fractures you had no idea were there. You’ll unearth stuff that is ugly, weak, embarrassing and utterly unlovable. And all that is a veritable buffet of fuel for your stories and your characters.

I’ve learned that writers are some of the bravest people on the planet. I am still struggling to find my courage on many levels as a writer and I stand in awe of those who have laid it all bare in the name of storytelling.

And storytelling is integral to a healthy society. It’s easy to dismiss movies or books as entertainment only. And, entertainment is definitely part of it. But when I watch a good movie or read a good book, it slowly changes how I see the world and expands my often too focused view of life.

I think I was born with an innate love of good writing. The right combination of words in just the right order can bring me to tears. So it seems predetermined in the stars that I would need to at least give it a shot.

And,  speaking of shots, pour me one of whiskey and load up my Underwood because I’m going to the dark place.

12 Responses »

  1. Great article! You don’t have to be a tortured writer to succeed. Every writer is told at least one: Write what you know, but that can be more than just your experiences. It can be emotions.

    I don’t think a writer must suffer or live an outlandishly adventurous life to have ample subject matter to pull from. The phrase “write what you know” goes deeper than its face value. It has to deal with your experiences on the emotional level. A writer needs only to pull from those moments of passion in life where they have felt any strong emotion to transform those feelings into something else.

    I wrote an article about this subject matter if anyone is interested:

  2. I loved this– please go there, so I can read about it safe from the balcony known as the scady cat view!! Lol– really– I applaud and encourage u.

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