Unhealthy Addiction

on October 1, 2010 in Misc

For me, writing a novel is an unhealthy addiction.

In my last entry, I mentioned that there can be a darker point or motivation for my writing.  Well, this is what I mean.  For me, writing is a habitual impulse because it can be a soothing relief, a jolt of excitement, a rush of thrills and spills.  When I’m not careful, I often use writing as an excuse to live way too much inside my head.

As long as I’m writing, as long as I’m sitting in a chair and typing out words, or lost in thought as I plot out a story or scout a location, then I’m in another world.  It doesn’t matter that this alternate world isn’t the best one to be in, or that the characters in it go through good times and bad.  What matters is that I’m no longer in my world.  I’m no longer dealing with the problems in my life.  I no longer think about the painful contention among family members.  I don’t have to worry about the insecurities of my job and finances. 

Instead I’m in better place far, far away.  I’m a small-time god over a creation of my own making.  And damn, if that power and control doesn’t taste sweet!

This is why I’ve never needed much discipline to write.  Sure, it can be tough as hell finding the right words to capture a character or scene.  Falling into the rhythm of flowing sentences and paragraphs can be a bitch.  But as long as I’m writing I’m practicing an art at which I excel:

Glorified daydreaming.

That’s really what writing is for me, you know – mere daydreaming gussied up with some hard work and lots of research.  It’s my excuse to escape from reality.  Sure, my real life is generally okay these days.  But it’s not thrilling or exciting or full of grand passion and adventure.  In contrast, my make-believe literary efforts are chock full of all that and more.  When I was driving this last weekend through valleys and mountains and canyons, I wasn’t just enjoying the scenery.  In my mind’s eye I was watching a thrilling tale unfold across the landscape.  Which helps to explain why I almost drove off the road a couple times.

So you can understand why this Layla plan is good for me.  Like an addict who has gotten high way too often, I’m finally forcing myself to DO in real time in the real world what I’ve long been wanting to and not just write about it.  On the downside, a lot of my real Layla activities are way too small scale and I’m restricted by a tight budget and little free time.

But hey, I’m learning and growing and starting to live more.  And no one ever said that getting over an addiction is easy.

2 Responses to “Unhealthy Addiction”

  1. ann says:

    I never thought that writing was a way to avoid real life. Of course one of the reasons I love to read a good novel is to escape into another world. Movies can do that too but there’s nothing quite like the pull of a good book read over the course of a week that can have me ignoring my husband and missing a full nights sleep. And since Rich and I like similar books we have a lot of conversations about the twists and turns of a good mystery or thriller.
    You’re lucky you have a talent and also the passion to bring your talent to life.

  2. Helena says:

    Ann – Maybe this is another reason I’m so tempted to keep writing — I want to write something so good it makes people talk about it, share it, pass the book on. But sorry if it makes you lose sleep.