Do You Have To Suffer For Your Art? Or Can Happy Writers Be Successful?

The list of authors who have taken their own lives is tragically long and reads like a who’s who of the literary world: Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Anne Sexton, Virginia Woolf, David Foster Wallace, Hunter S. Thompson, and hundreds of other authors have been stolen from the world by suicide. The list of those who have battled serious depression is even longer: Hans Christian Andersen, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, J.K. Rowling, Anne Rice, Amy Tan, Leo Tolstoy, Charles Baudelaire, John Keats, Walt Whitman, and countless others.

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3 thoughts on “Do You Have To Suffer For Your Art? Or Can Happy Writers Be Successful?

  1. I’ve often thought of this. Plenty of happy writers write commericial fiction, but it seems like many of the stories that have really stuck with me over the years were written by people who were haunted by real-life demons such as depression, drug abuse, and so on.

    Like most writers who blog on the subject, I’d love to write a novel that people will still talk about 50 or 100 years later, but would I want to live in misery to accomplish that?

    Interesting topic.

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