Tag Archives: addiction

(Un)Healthy Writing 4: Addiction

Addictions start out small.  A sip here, a puff there.  A tasty treat that turns into a binge eating session.  “Just another minute” at the keyboard that turns to just a few more hours.

My question: can we include writing in a list of addictions that afflict people across the globe?

I honestly don’t have an answer for you on whether or not writing can consume your time and attention in such a way that it can be classified as addiction.  I do know that writers can spend a disproportionate number of hours at their desks.  I know that some writers spend virtually every free moment in front of the screen.  Or dreaming of being in front of the screen.

I know that clothes go unwashed, kids are left to fend for themselves and all real life social activities taper off into nonexistence.  I know that significant others complain that writers have better relationships with their characters than with them.

But does this qualify as a writing addiction?

I suppose it could if one is actually writing or performing some kind of writing task while letting real life dribble off into nothingness.  However, I assume this isn’t necessarily the case.  I assume that other activities invade writing time and the proposed addiction may not be writing itself, but some form of socializing.

Angry Birds, anyone?  Facebook, blogs, AgentQuery, research, chat rooms…?

Are you an effective writer, or one whose writing time borders on social addiction?  Is it possible to be addicted to the writing process itself?  If so, how does an aspiring author break the addiction yet still be productive?  How can writing dreams interfere with real life priorities, and how can we be more efficient in fewer hours?

Curious minds want to know.

The Writing Wagon

I am officially falling off the wagon.  My addiction to the world wide web and all the cyber fluff that goes with it is simply too strong to ignore.  Even though I know it is bad for me.  Even when it conspires against me.  Even when I should be cleaning closets and preparing for an upcoming confirmation.  The pull is too great.

Bad addiction experience number one: I had written a romantic, fairy-taleish kind of story for Short Fiction Sunday, being it was Valentine’s Day and all.  However, somewhere between writing it and posting it, the cyber monster ate it.  Or maybe took it home to his cyber-partner for a bed time reading.  Regardless, it is gone…

Bad addiction experience 2: Saturday was a temperamental internet connection day and I’ve been so busy since dawn on Sunday through now that I didn’t even try to see if the quirks had been dequirked. 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

I don’t know why I want to fall off the wagon, as the internet is time consuming and so far hasn’t gotten me a contract yet.  However, it’s an addiction thing and, like all addictions, it cannot be reasoned with.  Not to mention that I feel a little nekkid when I don’t spout off daily.  Also, I’m going through withdrawals for not having visited my favorite blogs by my favorite writers since pre-vacation.  I must do that soon or I think I’ll shrivel up and die. 

The reason behind the hiatus–beyond the obvious new suntan–was the fact that I ended up with a doozy of an inner ear infection.  For six straight days I felt perpetually inebriated.  To the point where I couldn’t open my eyes and focus, I fell on my face if I bent down to put my shoes on and I had the bed spins when I tried to fall asleep.  Lots o’ fun.

Or maybe that’s what happens when I don’t feed my addiction.  Maybe my ten day vacation initiated withdrawal symptoms from the hot spot and the only cure is to fall off the wagon and connect once again to my writing world.

I’m going with that. 

Because I think the worse addiction is starting something and never following through.  Writing is a tough gig.  Connecting and maintaining friendships takes time and energy.  Going from wanna-be writer to published author is not for the meek. 

I willingly embrace the responsibilities and fun that go with the cyber portion of my writing career.  It is definitely a wagon I am willing to hop off.

Man, it’s good to be back!

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