I figured something out the other day: I get sick when I don’t write. My symptoms are not unlike a grueling bout of PMS: irritability, difficulty concentrating, the usual hormonal issues that crop up when your insides are doing the dance and preparing for cycle’s end. PMS, however, can be managed. Diet, exercise, sleep, water, all that good stuff helps, as does a judicious application of specifically designed pain relievers when PMS is over and the onslaught begins.
Unlike PMS symptoms, however, writing or being a writer, is not so easily controlled. There is no designated period for suffering, no end date one can chart or look forward to in order to steady the nerves until relief comes. Being a writer is a constant up hill and down dale rollercoaster of angst and worry and irritation and more worry. There are even physical symptoms, nausea is one of my favorites, although headaches and withdrawal run a close second.
Of course, the physical state is not the one of most concern to the average writer. It’s your mind you’ve got to hold onto with both hands, arms, legs and likely a few toes. Not being read is one of the worse feelings in the world. I can’t imagine what writers did before blogs, where you can at least pretend like you have an audience, and Twitter, where you can make online friends to hopefully listen to whatever little pearls happen to fall from your finger tips.
Being a journalist doesn’t count. It doesn’t feed that need to be read after awhile, if you’re being published in places that lie outside your primary literary interest. I want the romance crowd. It worked at first, but after so many years of wanting one thing and doing another my work as a magazine editor in the business world is the equivalent of a bandaid on a wound that’s a hair away from stinking.
I fought it. I let fear rule and procrastination make a concentrated effort to keep me from going after the romance crowd, but I’ve determined that if I don’t write every day, preferably twice a day, before and after work, my symptoms escalate to the point where, well, let’s just say, it’s better that I write. Hence this blog, @sherrodstory, my newly painted office and my new daily, preferably twice daily writing habit. If one must be an addict, fuck it. You may as well be consistent with it.