Energizing. Encouraging. Engrossing. Truly an event to remember! That’s how I feel about the lively, inspiring event my writing buddy Nancy alerted me to and I was lucky enough to attend recently. Here’s the promo that grabbed me: “Why do writers drive themselves off the deep end to create? Why is the history of artists littered with breakdowns, suicides, addictions, pain, and suffering. Why write a memoir to relive a horrible childhood? Or revisit the love affair that nearly wrecked your life? Spend years on a novel that may never see the dark of print? Torture yourself over the right word, the right phrase, the right comma, for little the world considers of value (like real money or real fame)?
Why indeed?” Irresistible!
Martin Golan, a novelist and writing coach, and and Vicki Beckerman, a psychotherapist who often works with writers, co-ran the session. Clearly they hit a “hot button” on this one! It sparked some of the liveliest discussion of any literary gathering I’ve had the pleasure of savoring since I began this blog. The ideas and insights tumbling out covered the waterfront. First, the good news: The crazy writer syndrome is old news. According to Vicki, a former actress, you don’t have to be tortured and angst-ridden to write well: It’s optional. And if you’re going through a depression and reach out for help, your creativity won’t be impaired — it’s more likely to be enhanced.
Why do we write? Just a few of the thoughts that flew around the room: Temperament plays a big role. It’s cathartic. It centers us. It restores us to wholeness. It offers an escape. We can’t not write: We’re driven to: It’s a way of releasing pressure. It’s therapeutic. We want to know we’re not alone. We want to connect. We feel productive. It rescues us.
Reassuring idea floated by Vicki: One big reason writers are so prone to procrastination: We see so many possibilities in everything that it’s hard focus ourselves. Just love that!
Here’s a provocative issue raised by a non-writer: “Why are you writers driven to go public? Why do you feel compelled to share your narrative?” Why indeed?
I, too, enjoyed Martin and Vicki’s panel discussion immensely.
One comment that struck me was when Martin mentioned that he writes all day at workand, when he arrives home, he feels like he should be writing still. O often feel as well the need to head back to the PC after hours.
The unique thing about gathering like this is that we all come from different writing territories. You are a book auther and blogger. Nancy is a novelist. I’m a full-time freelancer for publications and businesses. Stefanie — she writes for an online site, and for her college newspaper. And, I’m sure others aspire, perhaps, to the life, or also have been in print (I didn’t have the chance to meet everybody).
Why compelled to share? Good question. I think that our issues, however dark, can be related to by someone, and therapy FOR THEM arrives in your words.
As for writing in general? Creativity is oh so important and fun.
Thanks so much for your wonderful note. I totally agree — creativity is so important and so much fun — and so well put by you! I know what you mean about all the varied ways that people express themselves through writing — that’s part of the mystery and the joy of it all.
I just loved what you said about writing not only as therapy for writers, but for readers as well. What a wonderful, encouraging thought. Thanks for sharing it.
Write on! Karin