Sunday Sesh: Ten Points Of Interest on ‘What Is A Writer?’


Honestly! I am going insane! This week’s Sunday Sesh is a chance for me to share with you some thoughts that have been occurring in my mind as I complete my uni research assignment on writing, alcohol and creativity.

What is a writer? Why do writers write?

I am obsessed with The Encyclopaedia of Creativity by Pritzker and Runcorn at the moment. Also I’m working from Krauth, Gilkey and Epstein as well as a bit of Tan and of course, TLG.

Some main points of interest that I have come across about writers and creativity and alcohol are:

1. Creativity is linked to mental illness which are both linked to alcoholism.
2. Many writers suffered a traumatic childhood. They tend to have at least one alcoholic parent, or a close family member with a mental illness.
3. Many writers have suffered alcoholism or mental illness sometime in their life. Alcohol and writing was romanticised by writers such as Hemingway in the post World War One period.
4. The long term affects of alcohol on a writer’s physical health and quality of their work outweigh the short term enhancement of alcohol, or thinking one is drunk, has on a writer during certain stages of the creative process.
5. Motivation can be intrinsic and result from a psychological state of unease caused by mental disturbances which generates tension and can be relived by constant work.
6. Writers are constantly creating a universe of meaning. Often a writer will search for meaning and truth to make up for lack of meaning in their childhood.
7. It is exciting to make intellectual and emotional connections.
8. The creative process is highly sociable but people don’t realise it, especially writers.
9. There are other ways to reach an open mind to allow for creativity. Eg. play an instrument, listen to music, paint, sing!
10. I write best when I am meant to be doing something else! Eg. Teaching, assignment.


What is a writer?

This is where it all started: My Ten Year Reunion With Myself and this led me to this: Understanding the Creative Process.

The information is based mainly on eminent writers who are known to have suffered from alcoholism, mental illness, suicide. The data is loose and inconsistent in some cases and often formed posthumously. What do you think? Are you a writer? Is this information based on an existentialist post war era? Do you believe Plato’s “divine madness” theory and agree with Aristotle that all creative people are touched with melancholia? What habits do you keep? And where do you stand in all of this?

Personally I feel that I am quite normal. Tick. Tick.