Bipolar writing personality disorder

Today, I’m manic. Before 9am (and I am not a “morning person” by any stretch of the imagination) I had spontaneously come up with the first 6-8 scenes in the (imaginary) movie which will be based upon my (still-to-be written) book.

After a hard, long, and exhausting day at work, I came home, and sketched out these scenes and a few others I’d come up with since the morning in a story-board style format. It took me over 2 hours.

This week has been good. I”m working on a contest entry, reviving a piece of “avant-garde” (I guess you would call it) literary criticism from waaaay back – it’s still one of my all-time favorite pieces I’ve ever written – one of those times where the words flowed like liquid chocolate, straight from the Muse.

And I”m thinking about working up a small piece that is almost already written (cut from a longer work) as a magazine article. For the moment, I’ve set aside my book – but that is deliberate, and it just needs some time to sit and “jell”.

But then…well, there was last week, and weeks before that one, where the writing was almost painful. Wailing. Feeling like I would never get done. Like it would never ever ever end. Thinking it would be tempting to give up entirely (although like the California pioneers crossing the Rocky Mountains, I realize I’ve come too far to quit now.)

And a coupla months ago, I avoided writing as much as I could. Oh, I had good intentions, mind you. I really did.  But I would always, every night, find something else to do. TV. Internet. Blogging. Visiting other’s blogs. Go to the bookstore. And go again the next day. Visit with friends. You name it. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

So tonight, because I have had such a wound-up writing-day, despite being so busy and exhausting at work – I realized that I think my Muse must be bipolar.  Now, I mean no disrepect by that comparision. I realize that is a serious illness. But I say that by way of analogy.

But that is the only way I can explain it. My writing is so very much “feast or famine.”  Cyclical. When I’m “on” – I’m really on.  When I’m not – I’m not – and it is easy to believe that I will never get out of that rut when I feel like I’m in it.

This is important for me to realize. That it goes in cycles. That I can have incredibly inspiring and productive days. And that when they seem to disappear entirely – it is extremely important for me to remember that I have been to those great days before – and that they will indeed return, even if they seem to have disappeared entirely for that moment. I just have to keep going. Keep moving, keep creating, reading, writing, or finding other ways to keep my mind and my hands active – sometimes even almost “treading water” literarily speaking. Writing simply for the sake of writing – and who cares what the results are?  Maybe that day, when it all seems so hard, my goal just needs to be “Write. Write anything. It doesn’t matter. And quality doesn’t count. All that matters is getting the words on paper. And keep going. No matter what.”


© writingreading, 2009

2 Responses to Bipolar writing personality disorder

  1. Christi says:

    I blog, so I have at least one good reason to keep on writing. Otherwise, I sit around and think about writing. I, too, envision imaginary scenes of movies based on stories I aim to write. Sometimes I even hear the soundtrack. But whatever it takes to inspire the story, right?

  2. I know what you mean about “feast or famine,” and about the painful part. I’d swear I’m physically deteriorating the longer I drag out these darn revisions. Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone, for whatever that’s worth!

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