Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Writing in the Blood
How does this writing thing become so addictive? I was talking to a friend on the phone recently. Five years ago he’d pretty much never written anything in his life. Then he began to dabble, producing an essay here, an essay there. Suddenly he’s writing every night, staying up late to get in his say, talking about writing to others. I could hear it in his voice. He’s hooked.
When I was a kid I loved telling stories, though I told them mostly to myself. But once I discovered that I could write them down, and discovered that I had the patience to sit in front of a computer for hours, I soon found that I absolutely could not stop. I took off from writing this Memorial Day, after finishing a big project, and it actually took physical and mental effort on my part to “force” myself to stay away from the computer. Today, I planned to run errands and deal with various business aspects of writing instead of starting anything new. Did that happen? No. The temptation to tickle the keys was just too much.
So, what is it? Are we just compulsives? Is writing a mental aberration? At least for me, the monetary reward does not equal the time I put in on this activity. And it’s not like I don’t enjoy doing other things, like reading, watching TV, playing games. But why do I feel guilty if I do those things too much instead of writing? And why does the time come, no matter how much I’m enjoying a book, or enjoying a movie, when I get up from wherever I am and find myself drawn by a literary gravity into the circuit of my computer?
I’d really like to know.