Many writers (and creative people in general) struggle with mental illness, myself included. And it’s not as charming or helpful or inspiring for our work as some people try to make it seem. At the very least, writers are often stereotyped to be depressed. And I’m not joking when I say that there are people out there in the world who believe that creatives have to be mentally ill in order to create some kind of art. My opinion, in one word, is just… no.
Writing while being mentally ill (from my experience) is occasionally borderline impossible. On a good day, it can be incredibly difficult. It’s not fun and it makes you feel like quitting or missing out on opportunities or not enjoy something that you truly love. It’s a fight to keep going, and sometimes you just need support. Being stigmatised or told you’re ‘broken’ or that you should be mentally ill because you’re a creative are some of the worst and least helpful things.
So, from the experience of a writer with a mental illness, here are some things I do to keep me writing.
My writing mode is either wildly typing every single word I can think of or curling up in the corner crying with a notebook and pencil and an empty page. There is rarely any middle ground. So, in honour of writing, I’m going to be answering some writing related questions.
‘Beautiful People’ is a project created by a book blog that I love (Paper Fury), aimed at writers. Every month, they post a list of ten questions for people to answer, designed to help you get to know their characters – their quirks, their flaws, their personality, and who they are. Occasionally, there are groups of questions aimed at the writers and their writing progress, rather than just what they’re writing about.
For this blog, I’m going to be answering a group of questions. I believe that this group is the January 2016 group (I updated the years in the questions so it fits in with the current time), and I’d love to see everyone else’s responses to these questions. I’ll put the complete list of questions at the very end of the blog.
I mentioned this in my last post – Bookish Facts About Me – but I thought I’d talk about it in a bit more detail in it’s own post.
Some time in either March or April, I submitted the first three chapters of my novel ‘Beauty in the Breakdown’ to a publishing company. At this point, I had already self-published the book, something which I thought would come up as an issue with any company, but I still wanted to try anyway as I can take down the book at any point.
The company liked the chapters I submitted to them and I ended sending them the full manuscript. At the end of April, they offered me a publishing contract.