“Withdrawal” or “Confessions from a Meeting of Authors Anonymous”

Hi. Um, my name is Danielle, and… I am an author with a problem.

            Maybe you’ve seen my blog, and noticed the little Ever On Word tagline – “Writing like an addict and never looking back”. Well, that’s not just me being cute; that’s me being both cute and dead honest. Writing is my drug of choice. Novel-writing, specifically. The blog doesn’t do it for me. Even short stories are barely enough to take the edge off the craving that gnaws somewhere deeper than my guts. I’ve got it bad, folks.

Exhibit "A". Meet Wilbur, everyone.

            As of the typing of this piece (and I can only hope the situation will have changed by the time the post goes up*), I’ve been clean for a little under two weeks. The first handful of days following the completion of my latest novel weren’t so bad. They never are, when I’m still riding the old high – when a portion of my head and heart and soul is still in the story, chumming with the cast, reveling in whatever rightness I’ve managed in that first draft and can leave gloriously as-is. Those are the days I’ll re-read what I’ve written to my Tirzah and whoever else wants to listen. The days one or two of the new characters will get their headshots drawn (or even something closer to a full-body shot, if I’m feeling ambitious). The days wherein excitement transitions into satisfaction, and thence slides quickly into… mild distress.

            And when I say “mild distress”, I mean withdrawal – i.e., full-on “physiological and mental readjustment that accompanies [the] discontinuation of the use of an addictive substance”. …Well, okay, maybe “full-on” is a bit of a stretch. Of potential withdrawal symptoms including nausea or vomiting, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety (as mentioned by the good folks at drug-rehabs.org), only that last point barely applies. I don’t feel sick or like I’m technically dying; just restless. …And sleep-deprived, but my tossing and turning into the wee hours for the last couple of nights might be nothing more than an unfortunate coincidence.

            The cruel irony is, all those things I wanted to do a few weeks ago and had to put off for the sake of word-count goals, I’ve got nothing but time to do now. I have a stack of books to read, other projects to research or buckle down on, DVDs gifted at Christmas that demand to be watched over a few leisurely slices of pizza or something. There’s plenty I could be doing, and would more or less gladly do… if only I were working on a novel, too.

            It’s not just the actual writing of it, you know. It’s the planning. The plotting. The daydreaming and waiting-to-fall-asleep-at-nightdreaming. Outlining beforehand, and puzzling out during, and leaving a part of me inside the document even when my body’s busy elsewhere. It’s knowing that, whatever else I’m doing this second, I’m also crafting a story. I love that knowledge, that feeling, that sense of doing what I’m meant to be. And when that’s taken away from me – even if it’s only for a few short weeks – I miss it like some might not believe.

            Oh yes, I’m an author with a problem, all right. But now that I’ve made the first step of acknowledging it, it’s time to move along to step two: Choose the next novel idea, and for pity’s sake, get crackin’!

*Happily for what sanity I’ve got, I have since begun another novel. More on that to come…

13 thoughts on ““Withdrawal” or “Confessions from a Meeting of Authors Anonymous”

  1. New novel! Yay! I’m happy for you.

    Last night, I was writing in bed and I confessed to my husband that my character’s life is WAY more interesting than mine. Oh well. At least we have our books!

    • Lol — “No offense to you, honey”, right?
      It’s true, though; characters do sometimes seem to have all the fun/drama/excitement. One reason of many I like to write the books: Makes me feel like I’m partway in on the adventure!

  2. I always find that choosing which novel idea to pursue is the real problem. I haven’t ever tried writing two at once, as I think getting 20,000 words into a writing project and realising you’re only a 5th or so of the way there is daunting enough without it happening twice in the space of a few weeks. Which means I have to finish one project and work on the next. The problem I have at the moment is I’ve got so many other things to do, I haven’t even found the time for one novel. I don’t get many withdrawal symptoms when I stop writing, just an overwhelming sense of emptiness half the time, and the weight of ideas pushing against my skulll! Good luck with your new project. Hope it satisfies your cravings until someone divises a literature patch…

    • Aye, so very many novel ideas, so darn little time, and the human skull far too thin for the writerly weight pushed against it. Forget the lit. patch, we need a team of clones! …Or would that count as enabling?

      • I’m not entirely sure, but the amount of time it would take us to develop the ability to successfully clone ourselves (I’m not sure about you, but the world definitely has higher priority people it would want to clone before they got around to doing me several times), we could probably have written all the ideas we have! I’ll make a note of it though, in case I get desperate 😉

      • Creative types should take top priority for cloning! After all, ’twas creative types first conceived of such “impossibilities” and put them into action. Doubling or trebling the number of innovative thinkers could lead to exponetial increase in output of just these sorts of ideas made reality — as well as, of course, ideas made fiction. (:
        In the meantime, though, yeah…work with what we’ve got.

    • Trying to take book swaps to the next level, eh, Em? I’m not sure our novels would thank us for such monkeyshines. (“Hey, you’re not my author! Imposter! Poser! Help, police!”) You’ve got my editing sympathies, though. Doing *anything* but writing when you want to be doing *nothing* but writing is, to say the least, a challenge. An author’s job is not for wimps!

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