Fingers Never Forget

It’s been six days since I last held my keyboard.  When I booted up my computer this morning and began typing, my fingers flew across the keys.  Miraculously tapping letters in the correct order to form coherent sentences and fluid passages.  I was happy to learn that fingers never forget.

The physcial act of writing appears to be almost as soothing as the cerebral aspect of it.  Over the long weekend, I missed it. 

I wonder if writing is an addiction.  Physcially, emotionally and psychologically.  I think it may be.  I have heard of many writers who dabble in the craft, only to give it up for Real Life.  I definitely have.  And yet I keep coming back to it in much the same way an alcholic returns to the bottle. 

The drive become stronger with each dabble and the frequency between bouts shortens.  I come back to writing with renewed vigor and intensity, while the thought of not writing makes me want to throw up–literally.  My stomach hurts at the thought of not being able to write anymore. 

The pathway from my brain, and the incessant chattering of characters therein, to my fingertips has been forged.  I was fine during the long, snowed in weekend as long as I didn’t think about it.  I deliberately left my laptop at home so as not to be tempted during the midst of the Christmas celebration.  Out of sight, out of mind. 

Like an alcoholic, I steered clear of the bar and it worked. 

Until this morning when I woke up.  I had planned on getting up and working out with DH.  However, as soon as he left the warmth of our bed, my laptop called to me.  I was alone.  I had no responsibilities at 5:30 am.  And my computer was in my bag next to the night stand.  The temptation was more than I could handle. 

I booted up my laptop intending to finish my edit on my chapter book.  Yet my fingers instinctively hit the internet button.  I chastised myself as I waited for my homepage to load.  I knew that if I let this insanity continue, I would not get to my editing before the day demanded my attention elsewhere. 

I checked my emails and told myself to ex out.  Self said, “I can’t leave my fellow scribes waiting.”  After all, it had been six days since I last posted. 

So here I am.  Commenting.  Checking out Cassandra’s blog and posting on my own.  I’m thirsty for more.  It’s that first tiny sip as I perch precariously on the edge of the wagon.  I feel myself tipping over the edge.  I see the road on which I will land and yet I can’t stop myself.  When I am finished here, I will open my file and lose myself in the beauty of the written word. 

It may be hours before I come to my senses and realize I have lost half a day.  Like all addicts, I will feel guilt.  Guilty enough to motivate me to finish the afternoon responsibly.  Guilty enough to ignore my manuscript tonight.  Guilty enough to understand the raw craving and the consequences of giving in to the urge to work on my NaNo novel. 

Yet not strong enough to put my writing away for any length of time because I am an addict and fingers never forget.

Over the years, I have reprioritized things in my life to accomodate my addiction.  I have learned to let my house go just enough that it is still clean, but not perfect.  I haven’t turned the television on in years for myself to enjoy.  I have cut back on my reading and have given up my more mild hobbies of scrapbooking and card making.  I have sacrificed some pleasure to feed my addiction.  Thankfully I had the luxury to do so without significantly impacting my family. 

How about you?  Do you find writing to be a mere hobby or a driving addiction?  How have you reprioritized to accomodate your desire to write?  Do you feel any sort of guilt connected to the time you spend at your keyboard?  If you’re a non-writer, what activity in your life could be considered an addiction?

I have always thought there should be a support group for writers.  Then again, maybe there is and it’s called networking…

cheers~ cat

24 responses to “Fingers Never Forget

  1. I’m with you Cat! The characters and plot twists bump around in my brain whether or not the keyboard is in sight. With my busy life, I do have a hard time doing all the writing I’d like to do, but I don’t feel guilty anymore. It’s the only “me” time I get. And it’s so much fun!

    • Jemi,

      It’s so nice that you found a way to let go of the guilt. Please send the formula for guilt-be-gone, as I am in desperate need of it!

      I hope the upcoming year provides you with more guilt free writing time than needed to accomplish your goals.

  2. Okay that was really weird. WordPress ate my comment–I think. I will try again. If it ends up doubled, you can delete me! If not, I’ll always assume my first comment was more brilliant than this replacement! What I (sort of) said was:

    I have a question for you:

    If you new someone who couldn’t get enough vegetables, who carried carrot sticks in her bag and wanted kale first thing in the morning, who couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to eat vegetables any more–would you consider her an addict? Or would you think of her as someone who is deeply in touch with what nourishes her body?

    I see addiction as something we can’t stop doing even though it’s damaging to our bodies or our lives or the lives around us.

    For me, writing is the opposite. For me, writing is like vegetables–necessary for a healthy existence. When I’m writing regularly, I’m calmer, I eat better and sleep better and I’m nicer to my kids. Because writing nourishes my spirit in a way that nothing else does.

    Perhaps you could change your terminology? Perhaps you could think of writing as nourishment for your soul. And perhaps you could think of your blog as a service to your fellow writers, who come to it as a place to find community–like a virtual pub or coffee shop where you connect with your writing friends, discuss your process, and receive encouragement and advice. Surely that is a worthy achievement?

    Just a thought.

    • Michelle,

      You never cease to brighten my day. I love your new terminology. I shall now look at it as nourishment, though it may be a harder sell to Dear Hubby than the addiction thing. Once I throw in the healthy aspect I will be obligated to participate in other healthy aspects of Real Life such as running with him. LOL!

      I like the coffee shop image and shall now view my blog as something akin to a little log cabin in the woods where drinks of choice are served along with humor and an abundance of support. Weary travelers are encouraged to sojourn to this lovely destination and bring unlimited muses, plot bunnies and jammies.

      And, I do crave milk. Like a day-old calf. It nourishes me and tastes darn good all at the same time. Vacation is torture because milk is hard to come by and I definitely get cranky when I go too long without it! That is a healthy addiction.

      • We all have crazy love for dairy in this house! So I know what you mean about milk.

        I’m actually thinking “Nourish” is going to be my word for the year in 2010 . . .

      • Michelle, I love your word. Morticia got me thinking about it and I need to find mine for next year. I will do everything I can to help nourish your new year!v

        Milk–I think we could drink a cow dry!

  3. An addiction. Yes. In a way. I do get burned out every once in awhile and need to take a week or two to refresh. But then again, I’m usually so obsessed with it, it really shouldn’t be any wonder.

  4. It may be an addiction, but for me, guilt settles in when I don’t write. I’m older and retired, and no longer have the responsibilities of work and mothering, so I am forced to produce or stop pretending to be a writer. And I have very effectively convinced myself that blogging and commenting on other blogs is also writing. LOL

    • Patricia,

      I hear you on the blogging thing. I love it and count it as my warm up to the real thing.

      How lucky for you that you get to write full time. You must have a ton of fodder just waiting to make it on paper! Thanks for stopping by with your comment. I hope to see you around the blogosphere.

  5. I suppose it is like an addiction in that I get put out and out of sorts if I haven’t written in awhile. I have to take some sort of writing instrument with me on vacation, even if it’s just a spiral notebook and a pen. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking of ideas. Most of time, I enjoy it, except when I’m burnt out and writing is the LAST thing I want to do. ^_^

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I agree. I get a little cranky when I go too long without reading or writing. I love everything about both of them.

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who carries writing paraphenalia. Last week, I wrote as I sat under the hair dryer while getting a color! Sometimes I get strange looks, but hey, we’re writers. Right?

  6. Given everytime I go without the computer for a few days I think about what I’m going to do and write once I’m back on it, I think it is safe to say I am addicted. I’m addicted to writing stories and to the social aspects of the internet but there are way worse things I could be addicted to so I don’t really see it as a problem. I still have time for my work, which I love, family and friends and I still go out. I don’t use the computer as an excuse to not leave the house. Still if I am away from the computer too long I start handwriting my stories which is definitely a problem because I really can’t read my own hand writing when I write fast.

    • LOL, Cassandra. I used to swear I would never not hand write my rough drafts. Then I got a laptop and now I struggle to hand write anything but notes–which can be seriously messy when the muse visits!

      Like you, I think there are many worse addictions out there we could face. It sounds like you’ve been able to balance your writing with Real Life. This is not a small feat in anyone’s book!

  7. Weird.
    I feel guilty when I’m *not* writing. (btw I count workouts as writing because that’s when I get my best ideas…even on my run today I came up with an idea for Friday Flash).
    Whenever I’m working on the house or doing something non-writing, I feel guilty.
    How’s THAT life sound to you?

    • Tell your wife to prepare a room! Unless of course I have to run. Then I’m staying here!

      My best writing is done in the shower. I swear that’s when every good idea hits. I need to create a shower dry-erase boardish kind of thing because the shower doors only last as long as the steam doesn’t run.

  8. New to your blog. Very nice by the way.

    As for the addiction, I recommend just giving in. It’s much easier this way. Trust me 🙂

    Beautiful clean and organized blog. I really like it.

    • Thanks for stopping by Voidwalker. I’ve noticed you around other blogs and always find your comments interesting and though provoking. I appreciate your time and comment.

      As to the clean blog, I take no credit for it. I’m a hopeless technotard. WordPress is my best cyber find ever.

      The addiction is a whole ‘nother thing. I’ll trust your input and slug down a healthy dose of writing rather than trying to fight the cravings. : )

  9. jmartinlibrarian

    Here’s my secret confession: I’m not really addicted to writing.

    I love to write. (Secret confession #2: I love to read just as much). Stories and characters bounce around in my brain, and it’s a lot of fun to work at bringing them to life.

    It’s fulfilling to hold pages and know I wrote the words.

    It’s a joy when someone else reads my words and tells me they resonate. It’s okay if someone thinks my words stink like a three week old cabbage, too. I’ll just keep learning.

    Sometimes, I get stuck and don’t write for a few days. Sometimes, I’m too busy. But I always come back around.

    Writing is an enjoyable part of my life.

    If I can someday be paid to do, it will just be the icing on the cake.

    • Hi Jenny!

      Hope you had a Merry Christmas. I’m glad you get so much pleasure from writing. I totally agree with everything you wrote. I love everything about the written word–especially the thought of someday getting that yummy icing on the top of the cake!

      Wishing you the best luck in reaching your goals.

  10. It is an addiction and I, too, have given up other things to get my fix more often. And it’s worth it. Every word is worth it.

    • Hi, Yvonne. It’s nice to see other addicts who love it as much as me!

      I agree that prioritizing is worth it. It certainly has helped me in keeping a routine and taking myself more seriously.

  11. Greetings Cat, i found your blog again. Yeah!
    I totally relate to this whole discussion. I left town for 5 days and left my computer at home so I’m scratching notes down on my flight itinerary hoping I can decipher them later. Even when I’m not at my laptop I’m thinking about my characters or some detail that of my new story.

    I can’t think of a better addiction. This one makes me happy and it’s calorie free! If I didn’t have an iPhone I’d have serious withdrawal symptoms already.
    I’m starting a new writing blog. Barely off the ground but come over for coffee and a chat.

    • Yay, Rahma. I can’t wait to stop by your new place.

      It’s fun how this love of ours is all consuming yet still healthy in many ways. Hope your trip was wonderful and you were able to decipher your cryptic itinerary notes.


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