At the end of last week, I finished writing a book. Believe me, there was a lot of dancing and celebration after that 3.5 year-long stretch of wondering if it was ever going to be done. I’d been telling myself for a long time, as an incentive, that I was going to take a week off of fiction writing once I finished. Which worked out nicely, since there just happened to be one week between finishing and the start of National Novel Writing Month (TODAY!).
Friday night was great. Saturday and Sunday were great. And then something happened.
The second I stopped writing, I sort of, well, fell apart.
I know I completely burned myself out the week I finished writing my book. In that same week I plowed through a lot of other work so I could have the weekend off, which at one point involved writing four articles in one day (that’s a lot of work to do if you’re not getting paid to do it, I’m just being honest, it was rough). I could feel it. I slept later, dragged myself through every single school assignment and article I had to get done this week and just barely made a deadline yesterday.
It happens to the best of us, which is why I didn’t let it bother me too much, but then midnight hit last night/this morning. And I just sat there and wrote 250 words of MY NEW BOOK like it was no big deal, like all of a sudden my funk just reversed itself.
That bothered me a little bit more.
They (the experts) say addiction is a person’s way of subconsciously distracting themselves from reality. It’s not that my life is all that awful or anything, I mean, I have a place to live and food and coffee, you know, all the necessities. I’m getting an advanced education and I’m able to do what I love every day and sometimes my cat even likes me. But sometimes, I’m hit with the reality that I’m a college graduate (double that), broke, unemployed and single, and that’s not a fun recurring realization to have.
It is, however, the reality that hit me (again) as soon as I stopped writing for a few days. Which sort of made me wonder: am I addicted to writing? And if I am, is it really such a bad thing?
If I would have broken my own rule and worked on a short story this week while waiting for NaNoWriMo to start, would I have felt better? Did I feel so awful because I stopped writing, or did I stop writing because I felt so awful?
Am I forever trapped in this cycle of always having to be working on a piece of fiction if I want to stay sane? Am I never allowed to take a break? Or was it just a coincidence, and I just happened to feel awful the same week I was attempting to take a fiction break?
Am I writing too many articles and not enough fiction? Does there need to be a balance? These questions have been running through my head all morning. The nice thing is that I’ll be doing a whole lot of both this month now that NaNo has BEGUN! Feel free to join me, by the way.
Am I a little creatively insane? Yeah, probably. I don’t mind it. If writing a lot makes me happy, and someday a miracle happens and I can actually get paid to do what makes me happy (I’ll never stop trying), I’ll shout my writing addiction to the heavens. I’ll write it on my driveway with sidewalk chalk. I’ll write until my fingers fall off. As long as I get a break every now and then, I’m good.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.