Neurosis and Creativity

I started a new novel; it’s moving along at the pace of a very fast snail or an extremely slow leopard. As it’s my third book, I’m becoming more critical and feel generally more neurotic about the whole thing. This is good, because I’m improving. As a writer, you need the right balance of self-doubt and self-confidence – slip into conceit and you’ll write badly, slip too deeply into self-doubt and you won’t write a thing. On balance, a bit of smug arrogance can be helpful, if it’s generously sprinkled onto the hideous layers of self-doubt.


2 Comments on Neurosis and Creativity

  1. Jess Alter
    March 23, 2015 at 4:50 PM (5 years ago)

    Kudos on starting that new novel, Dan. Ugh, I know that anxiety you speak of here, having to walk that tightrope with no net. Conceit and self-doubt, in measure, do help by creating the friction needed to spark then stoke those creative fires; unfortunately, the tug-of-war between two disparate forces leaves us exhausted more than simply drawing a story out of us.

    Thanks for writing this. Sometimes I feel that I’m the only writer who goes through this grinder. It’s relieving to know others empathize.


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