Guest Post & Giveaway: “Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey”

Today, we have a special guest post by Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN, author Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. Ms. Raab talks about the affect depression has on our writing.  Please leave a comment or question (to be entered in the book giveaway drawing!) and Ms. Raab will be stopping in to reply. Winner will be announced on Friday!

Creativity and Depression

There’s no doubt that the numbness and sense of helplessness which accompanies depression can have a profound affect on the creative impulse. Psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison of Johns Hopkins who herself battles with bipolar disorder and is the author of the wonderful book, Touched With Fire, says that depression does not necessarily promote artistic talent, but in some people it might enhance or otherwise contribute to creativity.

Historically, many esteemed and creative individuals have been plagued by depression, including Charles Darwin, Vincent Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, William Styron, and more recently the novelist, David Foster Wallace. Earlier this year, a feature in the New York Times Magazine section entitled, “Depression’s Upside,” by Jonah Lehrer offered a fascinating new slant on the subject. A study by a Yale Psychologist, Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, showed that those with ruminative tendencies are more likely to become depressed. I found this to be an interesting factoid depicting those prone to this illness.

The article certainly validated some of my own depressive moments. When everything is going extremely well in my personal life, I am more prone to writer’s block. As a journaling advocate and writing instructor who frequently lectures on the healing power of writing, I was thrilled that Lehrer referenced a recent study citing that ‘expressive writing’ leads to a significantly shorter depressive episode.  Writers are well-aware of this, but it’s refreshing to see it addressed in this reputable reference, for the masses to read.

Depression is common in the general public and the article states that seven percent of the population will be affected by depression and this number tends to be higher amongst creative types.  So fellow writers, don’t worry so much about your depressive moments  or disregard your analytical ruminations, because you just never know what the outcome will be! Oh no, a literary drought!

Learn more about Diana Raab by visiting: (She has a really cool website!!)

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Filed under Author Interviews, books, Creative Essays, Give Aways

9 responses to “Guest Post & Giveaway: “Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey”

  1. Great post! I live with depression and have found that, at times, it does enhance my writing. Of course, sometimes it doesn’t. Anyway, it’s great to see this. Thanks!

  2. Mel

    Great post.

    Would love the chance to win a book please.

  3. Jan Udlock

    Thank you for talking about depression because seems like it’s still a quiet subject. I never thought it could enhance my writing.

  4. Jan Udlock

    MJ and Diana, Wanted to let you know that I just purchased Writers and Their Notebooks on Amazon. Can’t wait to read it.

  5. wranglerdani

    Isn’t it interesting how the things we feel most vulnerable about are the ones that others most want to read?
    Thanks for being so honest.

  6. An interesting article about the link between those with “ruminative tendencies” and depression. And how writing can help with the latter. I used to only be able to write when I had some major issue I was trying to work through, but since I joined a writing group for women cancer survivors, my writer’s block seems to have lifted and now I can write whenever I want to.

  7. Seriously….this is a invaluable webpage.

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