Thursday, May 22, 2014

Writing withdrawal



I recently completed and published my tenth book. It took nearly fourteen months working at my computer from three to five hours a day. Seeing the book for sale worldwide is both exhilarating and relieving. I had planned to finish it while on my recent vacation but since I completed it a month ahead of schedule I found myself on vacation with nothing to write.

This has never happened before. I’ve always had a project that I could tweak while sitting on a dock or with my feet in the ocean. I told myself that I would not start a fresh new novel while on vacation because my first drafts tend to consume me for weeks and I wanted to spend time relaxing and enjoying the tropics.

Strange feelings started to happen. I suddenly found myself with an extraordinary amount of free time, like an alcoholic who quits consuming and realizes there are many more lucid hours to the day than ever imagined; time that I would have spent writing. I found myself feeling anxious and bored, as if my mind needed my imagination to stimulate it. It didn’t feel normal when I sat on the dock or dipped my feet in the ocean. There was something missing. I’d go to sleep feeling like I hadn’t really accomplished anything that day.

After spending decades writing feverishly I discovered that not writing was actually psychologically painful; withdrawal from a narcotic unreality. While I thought that not writing would have freed me up to enjoy more of the real world I found just the opposite. I enjoyed doing these things because I could write while doing them. Writing for me is not a burden, or a chore, it is a necessity of my life.

Though I spend many hours marketing and promoting my material (you can check out all my advice, experience, and tips on this subject on my blog) to sell books and get noticed, I realized on this recent vacation that none that recognition really means anything in the end. Whether people read my books or not, I cannot not write. It’s a part of me.