Anderson began writing novels and short stories in 1909 as self help therapy. Anderson was being plagued with business and financial worries. He would argue about work with his wife constantly, causing tension to mount between them. On November 12, 1912, Anderson got up and walked out of his business in the middle of the day. He had been working long hours for weeks, with no days off. Combine this with the daily stress of arguing with his wife and you have an overworked man under deep psychological stress. When Anderson was asked why he left work, he said it was a "Conscious rejection of business." After seeing a doctor, Anderson learned that he had suffered a mental breakdown resulting in temporary amnesia. After this unfortunate event, Anderson resented the world of business, characterizing it as a "Universal network of prostitution."
Anderson was forced to try more leisurely activities so that he might avoid another breakdown. He began to read the "Chicago Renaissance", a newspaper which he soon grew fond of. This eventually encouraged him to continue his writing and take it to a new level. In the mid to late teens he wrote several books including "Windy McPherson's son" (1916), and "Marching Men" (1917), and in 1918 he wrote and published "Mid American Chants", a collection of poems.
In 1919 Sherwood Anderson wrote what is considered by most his "masterpiece", "Winesburg, Ohio". B.W. Huebsch published the book in 1919. During the 1920's, "Wines burg, Ohio was widely considered a representative of the contemporary "Revolt of the Village." The book is today widely recognized as a "profound expression of community and love"