Monomania: Why Writing All By Your Lonesome Kind of Sucks


Over at the New York Times “Draft” blog, Benjamin Nugent, author of Good Kids, breaks down the romantic notion that locking yourself away in the “primeval hush of the Midwest” is a certified boon to your writing.

Instead, Nugent discusses the “Victorian foil” of monomania and the way that too much alone time can actually be detrimental to the creative process:

Writing a book consists largely of avoiding distractions. If you can forget your real circumstances and submerge yourself in your subject for hours every day, characters become more human, sentences become clearer and prettier. But utter devotion to the principle that distraction is Satan and writing is paramount can be just as poisonous as an excess of diversion. I tried to make writing my only god, and it sickened my work, for a while. The condition endemic to my generation, attention deficit disorder, gave way to its insidious Victorian foil: monomania.

Mr. Nugent has obviously cleared this hurdle, but the advice is well worth listening to.