Are suspense and mystery writers’ nervous types? Is horror master, Stephen King, anxious?
I think so. And here’s why …
Writing is therapeutic
Writing is an outlet. Writers use it to funnel our thoughts, fears, beliefs, and imaginings into written form. Through words we explore our world, daydream about others, and piece together a new reality of sorts.
Doesn’t it make sense then, that individuals who deal with anxiety, could use writing as an outlet of their fears? Creative types have extremely active imaginations. What better way to “tame” that sometimes hyper-creativity than through writing? The practice also allows us to get a little distance from some of these worries.
“If it’s on the page,” we think, maybe even subconsciously, “I don’t have to be concerned about it anymore.” It can help us to funnel our fear into creative expression.
"Hi, I’m a mystery writer and I’m anxious ..."
I’ll be the first to admit that half of the reason I love writing mystery/suspense so much is that I'm free to get a lot of those worries, many “what ifs” that bang around in my brain, out.
Worrywart, anxious, high strung, owner of a hyperactive brain—whatever you want to call it, our minds are often on overdrive. Writing helps us focus, to dump some of that energy (negative and positive).
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn that famous authors like Stephen King, Sue Grafton and J.A. Konrath also might deal with anxiety.
This gives the old adage, “write what you know,” a whole new meaning. For example, Harriet Lane, author of Her, a suspense set in north London, shares a deep look inside the writing of suspense books to banish a specific, very serious fear in her life.
Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section.
PS There’s also good article on mental health and creativity here. Note: some of the statistics quoted are scary. I’m sharing the article not to cause more worry to creatives, but to remind us of the often overlooked link between anxiety/other psychological issues and creativity. I hope it's helpful.
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