Some people write for money. Some write for pleasure. Some, like me, write because we are hopelessly addicted to it. We just have to write. We can’t help it. The urge to sit at our computers and compose yet more stories is too deeply embedded inside us.
In moments of despair, I picture myself creeping into our community centre, coat collar turned up, hoping not to be recognised. In my imagination, I am looking for the meeting room where the local branch of Write-a-holics Anonymous meet. But the meeting gives me no comfort.
“My name is David,” I tell the assembled group, “And I am a write-a-holic. It is now two hours since I had my last fix. I must now get back to my computer in order to work on my latest story.”
“A hopeless case,” I hear the group leader say as I slink away. “He doesn’t even try to overcome his addiction.”
“Is there any cure?” someone asks. “Could he have an amputation of his computer on the NHS?”
I glance back and see the leader shake his head. “They won’t do it. They’re afraid of the side effects. Amputees sit at empty desks tapping their fingers on the bare wood. They stare at the empty space where their monitors once sat. Occasionally, they can be heard to whisper, ‘My hard drive has crashed,’ as they fingers search for a non-existent mouse.”
The problem with us write-a-holics is that we show a complete disregard for our families and friends as we throw away our waking hours. We have to go with the compulsion to increase our word-count. Or book-count. Last year I had six novels published. This year I have completed five brand new novels. Five complete novels! And yet my addiction is in no way assuaged. I must write more and more.
I blame it on the pushers. Writing Magazine is one of the worst offenders. It encourages us in our habit. It holds out possibilities of fame and fortune if we keep on writing. We know that there never can be such a magical outcome to our addiction, but we convince ourselves to keep going: just one more novel, just one more fix. We reach a ‘high’ as we type in the final words and then we know we have to go on, we have to look for an even greater ‘high’ with the next book.
There is no hope for us.