Sunday, September 4, 2011

makin' me crazy

If you’ve ever wanted to pull your hair out and scream, “Stop! You’re driving me crazy!” then you have had an encounter with what Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way ( ), calls a “crazymaker.”

Crazymakers are people who intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or unknowingly, sabotage your efforts to write…or to paint, compose, or perform, depending on your passion in life.

They waste your precious time. Just when you finally carve out a couple of hours to move ahead on your WIP, the phone rings…and an hour later you are still trying to disengage yourself from the mindless chit-chat on the other end of the line.

Or the phone will ring in the middle of the night:
Crazymaker:    “Are you awake?”
You:                “Hold on a second. I’ll check.” (deliberate pause) “Yes, it appears that I am.”
Crazymaker:    “Good because I can’t sleep…so let’s stay up together for the rest of the night while you solve all of my problems.”

Crazymakers put their own agenda before yours no matter what the stakes:

Crazymaker:    “I know you have a deadline coming up but could you just read off your recipe for that warm Tuscan olive bread of yours.”
You:                “I got it off the internet.”
Crazymaker:    “My computer isn’t on.”
You:                “I have a chapter due tomorrow. I don’t have time."
Crazymaker:    “It’ll just take a minute. Jeez!”          

And just when you finally start to make some progress, the crazymaker in your life will show up on your doorstep and mess with your head:

Crazymaker (crying): “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
You:                “Why? What is it?”
Crazymaker:    “I don’t think Henry loves me anymore.”
You:                “Why? What happened?”
Crazymaker:    “He didn’t call me ten times yesterday like he always does.”
You:                “But he had his appendix out yesterday! What did you expect?”
Crazymaker:    “It’s not just that…”

Some Crazymakers are merely annoying, some are downright obnoxious, some are irresistible:

Famke (nudging my right arm off the keyboard): “Take me outside.”
Me:                  “I’m working. I don’t have time.”
Famke:             “Then pet me.”
Me:                  “I can’t pet you and key at the same time.”
Famke( looking really sad):  “I guess you don’t love me then.”
If you are involved with a Crazymaker, chances are you struggle with frustration, anxiety, irritability, impatience, and self-doubt as you defer your own needs to theirs…and with guilt if you don’t. Not one healthy emotion among them.

In order to defend your time and space you may have to learn to say, “no” or “later, maybe.” Politely. As in, “Why don’t we get together for lunch next week and solve all your problems over a glass of wine…or three.” Or, “Not now, Famke. I just took you out. But you can lay here under the table and I’ll rub your back with my feet.”
It’s just a matter of timing and technique…like everything in life.
“We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped
creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations.
I’m not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for that.”
--Toni Morrison--
If you haven’t heard, the August short story deadline for Glimmertrain ( has been moved back to September 12…so you still have time to enter. Good luck!



  1. Great post!
    My Crazymaker has to say everything when it comes to mind - no matter what I'm doing. Otherwise, it will be forgotten. Maybe some things are best forgotten?

  2. A bunch of those crazymakers live at my house. If only I had a lock on my office door.

  3. This is an interesting topic that affected me this past weekend. Fortunately I don't have many of these in my life and I am often my own worst enemy, but I do have one who I know means well, but she really has a problem with my passion for writing. It can be a frustrating dilemna.

    Tossing It Out

  4. Susan--Crazymakers have no respect for locks...

    Arlee--Some days you love them...some days you just don't!