[Note that this is a rough draft. Most paragraphs will be spotty, maybe sentences of ideas, as well as disjointed thoughts that have yet to organize themselves. Links will be given at the end for later and more professional APA format sourcing.]
Society has a way of making things seem dour. Everything– literally, from being a gamer, to a buddhist, and even silly things such as where you come from and how you were raised can go under the eye of scrutiny that society has fine tuned over and over again. The Writer is no different, and while our actions may seem to the outside world as unproductive and unsuccessful as compared to that of a doctor or a scientist, we so easily forget how writing impacts our lives.
Whether you like it or not you read thousands of words a say, from signs to articles to chapters of a book– and this is whether you want to or not. Information is constantly given in a written form: pamphlets, newspapers, blogs– from rants about how horrible ones day was to the newest feminist movement, writing is everywhere and impacts our lives on a daily basis. Then why is it that writing garners such a bad name, and the writer such terrible characteristics? Has it always been this way? For this, we must look back.
Often writers are tagged with the specific tropes of depression, alcoholism and introversion– none of which are always completely correct. Of course, in the past, many famous writers were alcoholics. One in particular, Earnest Hemingway, fits into both the alcoholism and depression trope. As a young man in the 20’s he easily succumbed to alcohol due to his mental and physical health problems, a horrible combination. Even with help, it was unfortunate that the amazing writer had come to the conclusion that suicide was his only way out, and on July of 1961, Earnest Hemingway took his own life. (1) Other writers such as James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Faulkner were also avid drinkers, only adding more negativity onto the label.
As for depression, there is Mark Twain, Sylvia Plath, and even the famous J.K. Rowling. However, according to research, there may be a connection between creativity and mental illnesses.(2)
“…more than the same brain region [frontal lobe], the same neurotransmitters in that region seem to be responsible in both mental illness and creativity. Flaherty explains how atypical dopamine levels can not only cause schizophrenic symptoms, but also “[influence] novelty seeking and creative drive.” In this way, both the physical and chemical evidence suggest that mental illness and creativity are extremely similar states of mind, if not identical.” (3)
This is particularly interesting to that fact that it actually proves society correct– maybe there actually is some sort of relation between a mental illness such as depression. The fact that both creativity and most mental illnesses both take place in the same part of the brain and use the same chemicals to do so definitely gives the trope some serious scientific backing… But still, these are only researchers findings, and nothing is solid fact.
“…the antipsychotic medications used to treat schizophrenia primarily target the positive symptoms– delusions and hallucinations– but may not relieve the negative symptoms of reduced motivation and lack of emotion. Such treatment can leave the patient feeling sedated and uninspired– and, as a result, less able to create… artwork.” (3)
Personal: I can relate to this. Upon my first few doses of Zoloft for my severe anxiety and depression, I felt completely uncreative and flat, as if all my ideas has suddenly been drained out of me like, or a wall of medication was standing in my way of being creative. I felt little to no emotion that I usually would experience on a daily basis due to my illnesses, which left me feeling very strange… However upon further medicating myself, my creativity has returned, and i don’t believe it has been hindered by the medication either. It is interesting how the two can correlate, and the label of writer and its stereotypes can truly go into something much more complex and scientific.
What does it take to be a writer? How does one consider themselves a writer? Certainly there is not truly set boundaries for any kind of label, only ones that society usually puts upon us, but for the person themselves to feel like a writer, the criteria is always different. Still, to be a writer, one must truly be passionate about writing. Not just getting through college essay drafts [ahem], but seriously sitting or lying down and putting that imagination to work, whether in poetry, fiction/nonfiction writing, or lyrical verse, one must love writing to actually be a writer. One should also possess a certain amount of skill top be a writer, not just writing whatever they want onto a page. Writing takes a lot of time and practice and reading, any book one wants really. Any form of writing as well. Make sure to also write a good amount each week, AT LEAST once for a few hours collectively. After all, practice makes perfect, and nobody is perfect. You do not, however, have to be some fmous published author or poet to be considered a writer, nor do you have to have depression or anxiety or any mental illness! These would be considered accidental criteria if anything.
What truly makes you a writer is your passion.
Really unpolished because I had work all day today but please review what you can!! Heck yeah
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