There are a few different types of crazy. Some good (like wild & crazy), some bad (like serial killer crazy), and some comical (as in “You so crazy!”). Today I’m talking about the good kind of lunacy. I am NOT referring to the kind of crazy writer who stalks and assaults an agent. Our hearts go out to that agent and her family.
Today, I’m talking about the fun kind of wackadoodle nuttiness that we writers start to accept as “normal.” Not just because we need it, but in our writer world, this IS normal:
1) You talk about your character’s life goals and the obstacles in their way like they’re real people.
2) A bit of dialogue pops into your head and you find yourself either reenacting it out loud or running through it like a movie while you jot down the lines.
3) You are somewhere breath-taking/awe inspiring and after the two seconds you take to live in the moment, you think, “I need to use this in a book!” (The same goes for any one-liners you think up in convo or the funny, sad, and ironic instances in life.)
4) You have a gut wrenching incident, a time of grief, a run in with a psycho b*tch hose beast, or get your heart broken – after the moment passes you think, “Well, at least I can channel this emotion into my writing.”
Another writer could tell you they do any of the four things above and you’d nod in understanding. Say it to a Non-Writer Friend or Family member (NWFs) and they look at you like you grew antennae. Long, neon pink and green antennae. That wiggle.
NWFs don’t get it, they never will, and that’s okay. I will never understand a musician’s mind and how they rat-a-tat-tat an entire song out using a pencil, hard surface, and their brain. The whole playing a song by ear amazes me as well, but it’s cool because musicians are a little crazy too.
My theory is we’re all crazy for two reasons: #1, we’re well tapped into the creative process and our right brains. #2, we’re trying to break into a critical, tough, highly competitive and subjective business.
Craziness is how we cope. Sometimes we disintegrate into outright silliness as a means of survival. So, we talk to the people in our heads and talk to other writers about our people. We listen as they talk about their people. We have long conversations about people that only exist in our minds and on the page. We share the woes of rejection and the jubilation of requests, offers, and contracts – and flail over both. We melt down together when we don’t know where our careers are going. We celebrate and boogie at conferences because we need to enjoy the good times. We laugh over cocktails and make up bad titles for our books. We adopt British accents at coffee shops for no other reason than to sound British.
If I tried to go through this journey with a straight face, never giving in to the desire to make up a celebration dance or use a line of my dialogue on a stranger, I’d be lost. (True story: When a co-worker’s boss called, she asked, “He called? What does he want?!” I had to answer, “YOUR SOUL!” in my best Jeremy Clarkson voice.)
This biz is too stressful and busy and wonderful to keep it all together. I’m a lot happier if I bust a silly on a regular basis. I know the Badgirlz are content to discuss codpieces and the effective usage at a local tavern. What about you? How do you maintain sanity through comedy? Pull up a seat and tell me how your little bit of crazy keeps you sane.