I have, perhaps, an unhealthy infatuation with prolific creators who self-destruct.
It doesn't help that some of my core beliefs about succeeding as a creator are a) that if you churn out a lot of stuff, something is bound to be great or get noticed (if, of course, you're competent) and b) that the best creative work comes from being in a manic state.
"Manic state" refers to a few different concepts that juggle around my brain, but essentially it is a state of mind that is heightened, and the creator has the will to push their doubts and tensions aside long enough to let what needs to come out, come out. I've also heard something similar referred to as a "flow state," but I almost think that one further step of "mania" is particularly key depending on the sort of work being done.
So, because I have these two beliefs, you can see why I might have a tendency to idolize creators who appear to embody both - and to the extremes. There's Philip K Dick who churned out sixty pages a day on amphetamines. He wrote some of the most ground breaking science fiction of his decade. And I love him.
I don't particularly care for South Park, but that studio literally creates episodes in SIX DAYS. Do you realize how absolutely nuts that is?
Stephen King wrote dozens of novels completely coked out of his mind, several of which are regarded as popular classics.
There is, of course, the immortal (and harmful) perception that great artists must go through abnormal amounts of turmoil. While I do think anyone who is a great artist must be willing to face some incredibly dark moments, many seem able to manage creating wonderful things without imploding on themselves.
I recently discovered Terry Pratchett, a man who wrote over seventy books. They are bonkers and hilarious, but also very smart. And to my knowledge, he didn't drive himself into the ground writing these novels. He just knuckled down, did the work, and his imagination went wild.
Yet, my drama-hound brain ignores that and takes a look instead at the Philip K Dicks of the world, thinking, oh man, what commitment!
And that's dumb. I need to stop doing that.
I'm worshiping at an altar guaranteed to make myself feel bad because I can't possibly meet the expectations placed atop it.
From me, to me: Chill out. Jim Butcher's written boatloads of things and he seems pretty mentally stable.
YOU CAN TOO.