Friday, January 9, 2009

Are You a Graphomaniac?

First of all....Happy New Year to everyone. Obviously, one of my resolutions wasn't to post regularly to my blog...heh hmmm..... Lots going on, etc., etc.... Okay, on to the topic of my choice. Do you suffer from graphomania? I'm not talking about the purely medical definition here, where one writes continuous strings of words that when read, well, are just plain old nonsense. This refers to the layman's description. Do you have the compulsion to write -- constantly, obsessively, passionately -- someone insanely driven, and it's as if you can't get enough?

I thought about this for a brief minute, trying to decide on my own habits, and came up with a "no". I decided this based on the fact that I can go weeks without moving forward on a project or delving into a new idea for one. Oh, I will think about doing it, but just don't. Then there will be times when I am in overdrive, blathering on and on in the written word, as if some spell has taken possession of my hand and won't let me stop writing! Rather like the girl in the children's story about the dancing slippers -- only with hands, not feet, of course :-). But I'm not the one to claim writing takes up almost every waking moment of my day. That said, it brought me to another thought.

How many authors, especially great ones, past and present, could be labeled as graphomaniacs? It's an interesting question, I think. What is your opinion? And do you consider yourself afflicted with graphomania? Let's hear your thoughts.


Michael said...

I am definitely not one. Schoolwork has demanded that I write all the time, so it just turns me off because I have no time/energy/brainpower left to write for my own pleasure.


teacherwriter said...

Michael -- I so understand what you mean. Most days when I get home from work, grade papers, etc., the idea of putting forth more brain activity to write is just a thought that remains in my head! Thanks for the feedback.

Rian Murray said...

I don't think there are too many authors that write incessantly in this day and age. There's too many things to divert your attention nowadays. TV. Internet. Cell Phones. Ipods. It's tough to get away from that all the time.

The only author I've ever heard of that was a so-called "graphomaniac" was Jack Kerouac. I'm sure several of his Beat Generation counterparts, like maybe Ginsberg, were cut from the same cloth and wrote consistently also. But Kerouac's the only one I know for sure.

For the most part, I need to be in the right mindset to write. Something's got to move me. Though, earlier this year I discovered Kerouac's "Rules of Prose" and it's helped me write more in this sense.

Some of his rule and ideas are a little out there, but it worked for him. Here's the link:

What I took from it was when you're writing, your first thought is the best thought--go with it--write it down. It's like an instinctual emptying out of your subconscious. And it's perfect for free-writing when you're in a rut. That way, you can pick and choose little phrases and sentences that you liked from it and maybe use them as a starting point in furthering your work.

teacherwriter said...

Rian -- I checked out your reference to J.K. and I am very impressed. Actually, I found it not just an informative list, but also inspirational. One that really caught my attention was " No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge". And he seems to emphasize the visualizing of words, creating those images in your mind, and then writing them down. Great piece. Thanks for sharing. And you are so right in your logic...people really do have too many distractions that keep them away from writing. Of course Stephen King had some advice about that. Something to the effect that we need to turn the damn television off and just write! If only it were so easy. Just like now...I should be off working on that great masterpiece instead of purusing the internet :-). I appreciate your comments, Rian. Thank you.