By Abriana Jetté, Ph.D.

Sayreville, NJ, USA


Just because someone is diagnosed with bipolar disorder or another mental illness, yes, they now have a disability, but they are by no means disabled. People with a mental illness have just as much ability to function in society as everyone else. It helps to be classified as a person with a mental illness when you are, in fact, mentally ill because it gives you the ability to press the breaks or hit the emergency button as needed from time to time. Do not self-diagnose yourself or others; let the doctors take care of that. -- Will Morro


ABRIANA JETTÉ: In your debut memoir, Nobody Believes Crazy, you talk about your dislike of writing, probably a sentiment every writer feels at some point in their lives. How long did it take you to write this book?


WILL MORRO: First off, let me address this notion and the part of my book where I illustrate my “dislike for writing.” I actually believe I quite literally said, “I hate writing” or “I hate to write.” This has been entirely true my entire life. I have written very little on my own and had never written cathartically when I was in school. After college, I had attempted to write a book on two different occasions and did not get very far; I probably threw together three or four essays in that 13-year span as well. Since most of my experience with writing happened in high school and college, it might come less of a shock to you that I penned down that writing is something I hate in my memoir. I have really only written for school assignments.


Writing my book was actually quite easy compared to the writing I had always been used to. Not only that, many people have praised Nobody Believes Crazy. I have to say, this kind of praise makes me feel really good. The compliments make the writing a whole lot easier. But, and with a little more honesty, the writing I did for my book was different than any of the writing I had ever done. I knew the story I had to tell, so I just sat down and typed. I didn’t do what I usually do, and what makes writing so arduous of a task for me. I didn’t go back and constantly proofread my document while I wrote. I just kept typing (advice from my editor that really freed me entirely). Even though I wrote about my dislike for writing, it has become much more enjoyable, and I’m trying to keep it going. I had a friend that told me I was a really good writer, after reading my book, and she gave me the advice to keep at writing as it is like sports ... when you’re out of shape it’s no fun, but when you’re in shape it’s awesome.


Secondly, and to finally answer your question, I spent about 60-80 hours in front of a computer typing out this book. I probably wrote the whole thing in six 10-15 hours sessions. Once I got going on the story, I really found little room to break. However, the answer to the question is unfair. I spent countless hours, years upon years, thinking about the events in my life; the events that appear in the book. I had to be able to explain what was happening in my life in my head, which happens on a constant basis. Finally, after those many years and a ton of driving, I felt ready to put my life on paper, and it got put together quite quickly as I was ready and prepared to tell my story. 


ABRIANA JETTÉ: What was the revision process like? Did you ever feel conflicted about leaving something in, or taking something out?


WILL MORRO: After writing about seven or eight pages, I jumped ship and wrote about another seven or eight pages. When this happened, I called my editor and was ready to tell him I no longer thought I should write a book. Before I could ever get those words out of my mouth, his wife kept saying how excited she was about reading my book once I was finished. At that point, I had no other choice. I had to somehow combine the two pieces of writing I had and figure out how to mesh it all together and make sense. So that’s what I did. I ended up realizing I had two different parts of one larger story. I spent one night, probably fourteen hours, connecting the two samples. I had to revise one of the samples, if not both, almost entirely so the book had one voice. After finally connecting the two stories, I had about 30-40 pages. After that, I wrote the rest of the book in three different nights.


There was no revision process. Once I finished typing, I sent the book off to my editor, and he said, “are you sitting down… don’t change a word.” I wanted to start laughing, but I was also in shock – because of the way I wrote, I really hadn’t read a word of what I put down on paper. I thought for sure I was going to spend the next six months pouring through this book making the necessary changes and corrections. When I read the final draft, before it was to be ready for sale, I finally got a chance to read over what I wrote. There was only one thing I wish I added, I took nothing out, but I never had a fair opportunity to feel conflicted about anything because my editor and publisher were on board with essentially my first draft. Hard to complain.



ABRIANA JETTÉ: Do you think that the process of writing down your story benefitted your Bipolar Disorder? How did you feel reliving the memories through writing?


WILL MORRO: I knew why I was writing my story. I needed to put down all the things I was spending my time thinking about. My head was consumed rehashing all the different moments that you can read in Nobody Believes Crazy. Did it benefit my Bipolar Disorder? It really benefited me. I finally had a record of my encounter with this disorder over the past thirteen years. I no longer had to get inside my head and debate with myself just how certain things happened and constantly trying to explain myself to myself. Putting it all down on paper allowed me to stop thinking about all this shit. Stop reliving it all. If it takes a huge weight off my mind, then it is hard to argue that it didn’t benefit my Bipolar Disorder. It gave me peace of mind as the stories no longer had to live in my head; there was now a database for any and all questions.


Writing down my memories was much easier than I thought it would be. The stories were really well packaged in my head and they were ready to get on paper. Reliving the memories through writing didn’t feel different than reliving the memories as I grappled with them on a constant basis in my mind.



ABRIANA JETTÉ: In its first week, Nobody Believes Crazy reached #9 on Amazon bestseller list in Bipolar Disorder – a magnificent feat for any writer. How did you feel when you realized all of these readers were consuming your words?


WILL MORRO: SO COOL. I have to reel my excitement back. I’m always asking people if they read my book or what part of my book they’re on. I know I get real close to nagging even my own relatives, but it’s just so exciting. Especially because everything in my book, all the stories and feelings are things I’ve never shared with anybody before. I really opened myself up, and I am eager and overanxious to not only get feedback, but also to talk about who I am with just about anybody who’s read this mid-life memoir.


On that note, there was a lady who reached out to my mom – a completely random person. She talked about how her sister has a son who is bipolar and is going through a stretch of hospitalizations (three visits to the psych ward in the last two years) that is similar to my story. She praised the book and mentioned how helpful it was to hear my story as it is so relatable to what their family is going through. This kind of thing really hits home for me, and it makes the book I wrote that much more rewarding as it is something that can and is really helping others.

From Will Morro Blog


ABRIANA JETTÉ: What can we expect next from your art? What are you writing these days?


WILL MORRO: Right now, I am dealing with a post-book hangover. I am trying to keep my writing sharp by putting together meaningful weekly blog posts. The blog entries, if you or anyone else is interested can, be found on my website. I am at the early stages of formulating a podcast that I hope brings awareness to mental health on all different fronts. The idea of the podcast is to do 5-10-minute interviews with millennials that have an interest in mental health and are, in fact, creating works of art that correlate to mental health awareness as the opportunity to change the stigma on all platforms is a daily struggle worth discussing. I wish I could tell you all about my next book, but I am not there yet. For now, it’s just about making baby steps in the right direction.




Will Morro   

Abriana Jetté, Ph.D.


Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Abriana Jetté, Ph.D., is the editor of the anthology series Stay Thirsty Poets, as well as a poet, essayist, and educator. Her work has appeared in The Seneca Review, Plume Poetry Journal, Poetry New Zealand, River Teeth, among others. Her research interests include creative writing studies and alternative pedagogies. She currently teaches at Kean University and is a regular contributor to Stay Thirsty Magazine.




All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.