It’s grim being a writer

Well, that explains a lot… apparently, clinical depression and the prospect of a shortened lifespan are some of the joys successful scriptwriters are more likely to face, according to TV psychologist Raj Persaud.

UK media magazine Broadcast reports that speaking at a session on writer’s block at the Screenwriters Festival at Cheltenham Studios this week, Persaud revealed that between 30% and 80% of writers suffer from clinical depression.

“Writers have to be like that to emotionally engage with their material, says Persaud, “but they do they tend to make poor decisions in their life because they are emotional and rash – you only have to look at the example of Sylvia Plath and her disastrous relationship with Ted Hughes.

So all those piles of paper in my office are the result of being creative. I don’t think that argument will cut much ice with Clutter Nutters.

As if the dnagers of being depressed aren’t bad enough (and I recall someone saying that the actual use of too many words can drive you mad, too, so writers are always in danger of that…) Persaud also says that things actually get worse for the writer once they start receiving critical acclaim. One psychological study looked through a database of Academy Award winners to examine death rates and found that best actor Oscar winners lived four years longer than average, but winning screenwriters lived four years less than average.

“Scriptwriting seems to be the only profession where success and recognition seems to lead to a shorter life,” said Persaud. “Maybe with success they expect their life to change dramatically from that point on and are disappointed when it intrinsically stays the same.”

Ouch. You almost feel for Alan Moore and co., don’t you… No wonder you can find so many writers in the bars at conventions…

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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