Tag Archives: mental illness

The A-typical (and Type A) writer

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I heard a great piece on NPR about the link between writers and various types of mental illnesses (especially depression). It must have been good because they played it (at least) twice in the last few years. (I think you can still hear it through the archives.) Anyway, they said that writers have the highest incidence of mental illness of all professions, but then asked the chicken or egg question. (They also said the poets have the highest incidence of depression among writers. Again, chicken or egg?) Anyway, the piece was fascinating for a variety of reasons. For me, it made me realize that as a full-time working writer (I make my living as a writer. It’s not a hobby.), I am quite atypical. Not only am I not depressed, but I am borderline OCD. 

 

I am extremely organized, goal-oriented, fast-paced and probably fit more of the stereotype of an editor than a writer. Still, I do consider myself creative and I write very, very fast. So I do have some components of the typical writer (creative, artsy, enjoy alone time).

 

Obviously, the creativity is very important to my career. But I also think that the borderline OCD is what makes me most functional and earns me the income I make. After I all, on a typical day I could be juggling work for 5 or 6 clients, taking phone calls, answering emails, and throwing in a couple personal details – like paying bills, dealing with insurance or a sick kid, laundry, planning dinner, etc. 

 

So, is anyone willing to share something similar? Are you the “typical” writer (quoting the radio story); introverted, creative, depressed and/or ???

 

Or are you more like me: high-energy, organized, sometimes anxious, goal-oriented, driven, multi-tasking? FYI, I am not claiming this is better – just better for me. I think it’s what makes me successful as a writer. I also think it can be very different for men/women, parents vs. nonparents, introverts vs. extroverts.

 

Thoughts?