Creative Non-fiction: Writers Are Insane

by Brooke Hemingway, Age 12, USA

 

Only someone who is insane would ever want to be a writer.

It looks easy. We wander into a giant room that is filled with nothing but dusty, leather-bound novels, thick to the brim with descriptions and great characters. We skim the shelves, fingertips trailing slightly on the new book from J.K. Rowling, and then get lost all too quickly in the stories in that room. It looks easy, when the prospect of writing is basically picking up a pen and writing words on blank paper, finishing a perfect first draft, and being worshiped by fans. But it’s not like that at all.

It’s a long path to becoming an author, and even harder to become a published one. The path is gruelling, rugged, and ruthless. On your way, you see the empty shells of other people’s dreams, their hopes and books that were never published. This path has forks that lead you around until you’re back at the beginning, or stop you with a cliff that nobody could ever climb. But the path can be navigated. Thousands have gotten past the twists and kinks, and traveled to the road of success. Each and every one of them got to that path because they shared one thing: they were insane.

And to make it in the writing business, you have to be insane. To write, you have to be insane.

Writers are insane because they spend so much time talking to people and animals, things and demons that are well outside anyone else’s imagination. Writers talk to the characters they have created, the things that only they can see.

They’re insane because writers are always locked away, alone in their isolation. Writers are often locked into a small room, with only the faint glow coming from a laptop computer, or inside their own heads, which turn and think repeatedly. They have thoughts bouncing off of their skulls like beams of light reflecting off the mirrors in their brain again and again.

It does sound painful and might make you want to give up writing entirely. But being insane is how we push and push and write and write until after months and years of misery, we have a manuscript that has heart and soul and sweat and tears poured into its pages.

That’s why a writer has to be insane, since there is no other way to make it as a writer if you are not totally, utterly bonkers. But then, that’s just the way a writer is.

*

Brooke says: “I am an insane author who loves math, science, and defiantly not my language arts classes.”

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