Friday, October 22, 2010

A Habit I Don't Want to Kick

I finished writing my fourth novel, An Unassigned Life, last week, and I finished the first complete edit on Wednesday. It’s about a novelist suffering from writer’s block who has a great idea for his next manuscript – right after he kills himself.

When it’s real, there’s nothing worse than writer’s block. It’s creativity constipation – you know you have something to say in a new and unique way, but you just can’t seem to force it out, no matter how hard you push.

In my experience though, writer’s block is usually imaginary. It’s an excuse we literary types use when we’re simply not trying to write. It sounds so much more interesting than “I wasted an entire day frittering on Facebook and Twitter” or “I just had to know if that guy on Maury really had twenty-six children.”

No matter how much I wish I could say that writing is like breathing for me, I know it isn’t. It’s more like a habit. On the good days, it’s like getting a hit of some fantastic drug that makes me feel light as air and carefree – even if I have a stack of bills within arm’s reach. On the bad days, it’s something I hate but need anyway.

My fingers are itching to start my next novel, but I promised myself – and my husband – that I wouldn’t do that until we returned from our vacation next month. In the meantime, I’m giving myself little hits of my favorite drug – doing writing exercises and starting short stories – while I wait for my first readers to review An Unassigned Life.

Yep. I’m definitely an addict.

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