The Mind of the Writer: Is It Messy?


Part of my entertainment is Western podcasts from all over the English-speaking world. All in the Mind is a psychology and neuroscience show from ABC Radio National in Australia. I’ve listened to for several years, and a recent episode on the mind of the writer caught my attention. In today’s post are a few excerpts that I hope will put the world to right for you– or at least someone who is convinced you’re just plain mad.


Is This the Mind of the Writer? Image Credit


World renowned psychiatrist and doctor of English Renaissance literature Dr. Nancy Andreasen studies the creative brain. What emerges from personality testing and interviews with creatives, she says, is “Creative people tend to be very curious about all kinds of things. They tend to be adventuresome. They tend to be a little bit iconoclastic, which is related to being original, of course. They perceive things in a totally new and different way that other people are simply not able to see…. They’re a little prone to getting in trouble because they’re original and seem rebellious.”

 ”Do creative people actually think differently (from) people who aren’t highly creative?”

“At least sometimes yes,” Andreasen said.

Check out the podcast to learn more about the writers mindset

In fact, she said, in her study of writers at Iowa University’s Writers Workshop , she discovered an “astonishing” 70 to 80% of them had mood disorders such as depression and manic depression.

When I find myself envious of someone’s education or writerly experiences, especially because I wasn’t allowed to attend Ohio University to study writing in undergrad, I remind myself that Da Vinci and Michelangelo both came from somewhat modest upbringings.

How do my fellow creative readers see themselves in relation to this?

Listen to the episode and another one with V.S. Ramachandran, the Marco Polo of neuroscience in creatives.


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