Writer’s High

There is no better feeling for a writer than that blissful state known as “writer’s high.”

Have you never heard of “writer’s high”?

Certainly, you know about “runner’s high,” that sudden feeling of euphoria and heightened energy that comes after prolonged and strenuous exercise. Writer’s high is the reward we wordsmiths receive after an exerting bout of creative writing.

While many writers partake in writing groups and tend to have other writer friends off whom they can bounce ideas, the actual writing process tends to be very solitary. It is a great blessing for any artist to be surrounded by friends, family, and well-wishers who can bestow a wealth of emotional support and intellectual stimulation. Not every writer, of course, is privy to such a support system.

The insecure writer who is caught up in the infantile needs for constant reassurance, encouragement and sentimental moral support, however, will not have the fortitude to overcome the hurdles that inevitably accompany any artistic endeavour.

When we consider that even men like Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy suffered through terrible episodes of self-doubt, we have to also consider the will and mental acuity they must have had to see beyond the hurdles and to focus all of their energy on their writing projects.

Sometimes, the lack of consolation (due to piles of rejection letters, writer’s block, and lack of courage) can be so oppressive that we convince ourselves that it might be better to quit while we still have the choice.

Life is strange in that a star shines brightest at the darkest hour of the night: it is at precisely at these dark moments when all we want to do is give up that we as artists are on the verge of achieving our greatest accomplishments.

Athletes, for instance, will not make any physical advancements if they do not push themselves to the maximum. It is only in the final, piercing moments of weight training that the bodybuilder is able to achieve the full gain of his workout. Anything less would be a mere warm-up. The runner cannot achieve runner’s high if he merely goes for a peaceful jog; he needs to be pushed to the precipice of his capabilities.

So it is with art.

The writer who hasn’t the resolve to delve deep into his subconscious or who hasn’t the mettle to fight when an obstacle gets between him and the page is not worth his salt. True artistic grit is not gained until that awful moment of pain beyond which is the cliff of failure. When we have the faith to follow through with our dreams, however, what incredible artistic growth we are able to achieve!

Even the many artists which today we hail as “great” and “revolutionary” often walked, in their own lifetime, alone; they persisted when encouragement and consolation from the outside world were as sparse as the cacti that grow in the arid desert. Their only comfort was their uncompromised faith and a virulent fearlessness in pursuance of their dreams.

Any artist, from the writer to the fashion designer, from the painter to the musician, needs to cultivate patience, endurance, and courage.

If we concentrate more on our duty (“I must write this today”) and less on ephemeral feelings (“I feel like I deserve a break today;” “I want to relax rather than write”), then we actually stand a fighting chance.

Howsoever artists may be labeled as “right-brained,” “whimsical” and “emotional,” the truly successful artists are the ones for whom art is less about feelings, and more about resilience and fortitude in the face of adversity. Art, for them, is problem solving, but it is never without great emotional, mental, spiritual, and sometimes even physical, pain.

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your writer’s high?