Awake to Madness

Writing books is certainly a most unpleasant occupation. It is lonesome, unsanitary, and maddening. Many authors go crazy.

– H.L. Mencken

This is humorous to me and relatable to my own experience with writing.

There are days when I feel a sense of accomplishment at having written, and I’m jacked and ready to write more, unable to stop.

And then there are days where all I feel is an oppressive weight to even begin. Those days I have to stay seated and breathe, and wait.

My characters live deep in the back of my mind, directing and critiquing what I write. Sometimes I hear what they say clearly, other times not so much. Sometimes they lead me one way only to have me start all over.

They talk to me, and I answer them, sometimes out loud. My living room becomes a stage, and my dog and cat become my audience as I act out multiple scenes. I whisper and yell dialogue, fuse the words with emotion, to reenact what the characters perform.

I tirelessly search for the right word that showcases what my characters are telling me.

If someone peeked through the window, they would definitely witness a crazy woman—hair wild, limbs animated in struggle, eyes weeping.

But writing isn’t just about going crazy. Writing is also about the release from insanity that comes after I’ve deciphered every garbled word that my characters have offered me.

And what do I do the next day when I wake?

I sit. Take pen in hand. And listen.

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