Back on the Insanity Train

What’s the definition of insanity? We’ve all heard the common bon mot: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It’s been attributed to everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Mark Twain to Albert Einstein. According to wikiquote, though, the earliest occurrence is found in mystery writer Rita Mae Brown‘s book, Sudden Death, published in 1983.

A variant form of the quote — “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” — is contained in the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous which was published in 1983, but approved and copyrighted in 1982, predating Brown’s book. According to the discussion concerning the quote on wikianswers, “The quote exists in the final approval draft which was distributed in November 1981 and is found on Page 11. A link to the Book is http://www.amonymifoundation.org/uploads/NA_Approval_Form_Scan.pdf.” (Narcotics Anonymous was developed in the 1940s as an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous, complete with 12 step program. Narcotics Anonymous should not be confused with Narconon, which is a Scientology-run program.)

Nevertheless, I like the definition of insanity that a friend, Lisa Lauenberg, devised: “The definition of insanity is to quit your dreams just because you’ve never succeeded.” Using this definition as my battle standard, I will wade into the thick of National Novel Writing Month once again, even though in past sallies I have not met the 50,000 word goal. This time, I am girded for battle with a copy of NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty’s book, No Plot? No Problem!, ebooks NaNo for the New and the Insane by Lazette Gifford, Break Writer’s Block Now! by Jerrold Mundis, Write Good or Die by Scott Nicholson, and a paperback copy of Lawrence Block’s Telling Lies for Fun and Profit.

During October, I’ll post to Prevarications in hopes of developing a daily writing habit. The posts will be writing and/or book related, to keep my eyes on the prize, so to speak. Along the way, I’ll outline the story I want to write during November (more about this in a future post), develop characters, and sketch out some dialogue and scenes.

What will I be writing? I’ll leave that subject for my next post.

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About Bruce Diamond

Despicably proud old man. Text-extruding asshole (thank you, John Scalzi) with a skewed vision on life, pop culture, writing and general assholiness. Not a scholar, not a gentleman, not Martin or Lewis. But still trying to make life fun and funny.
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