The Madness and Brilliance of Writing

Writing's a funny game. You make things up, put 'em down, and then hope other people will want to pay to read them. If it all works out, you make enough to get by. Even if it doesn't, you've been validated. Your stuff was good enough to get out there, to be read and liked (by some). To matter.

Like anything, as time's gone on, it's got more and more complicated. Authors used to write their books. Now they have media appearances and Twitter (and blogs) and need to understand marketing, to a degree, and publicity. And with all that, there's still no shortage of people writing / scribbling / typing through the night, through stolen evenings when the kids are asleep, during lunch breaks, on grey, wet mornings before the sun's up, just to get the stories down and send them into the world.

It's not the definition of madness, but it's a certain ordered lunacy.

Of course, plenty of writers have been mad, just like plenty of artists. Maybe the excess of the mind that leads to great writing tends to make mush of other things.

But it's fun, still, to reach to make books, like so many others, and to take all the modern twists - the blurbs and the queries and the cost benefit analyses - in your stride because you still think it's worth it. Beyond all the covers and editors and submissions and seeming like you need to jump through hoops is the belief - arrogant maybe, but concrete nonetheless - that you want to write, and to have it out there, in the world, and that makes it all worth while.

It's a good belief to have, and it has to be solid as a rock to ensure that the ordered madness - the one that means you're staring at a computer screen at 3 a.m. while all the respectable folk are asleep - doesn't become just a little bit too unordered. A fine line, perhaps, between a writer and a loon.

But it's still brilliant. So keep on, type away, and tr to convince yourself that, hey, all the really important things in life happen around 3 a.m. anyway.


  1. I'm doing my best to stay on the writer side of the loon line. It's so hard sometimes, especially during those moments when I feel like a completely talentless hack. But I keep that feeling squished into a box with all the other worries, and hope if I write fast enough it won't be able to catch me when it escapes. :)

    1. Agreed, powering through the low moments is just as important as when you feel you're on fire. Both are done for the same reason, though