Writing is fun, so fun, that some people think that it’s addictive. Like exercise or alcohol, you can come to crave it.
Years ago, a writer named Charlie Brown wrote dozens of novels. One day he realized that he wasn’t making a lot of money at it, and yet he loved writing, so he started the magazine LOCUS, which is dedicated to reviewing the works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.
Each year, we would invite him to the Writers of the Future event, and Charlie would talk about how writing can be addictive, and if the young winners of the contest were smart, they’d “Get out now!” He would point to writing addicts like Stephen King, and talk about how they were unable to enjoy life. Sure, they had millions of dollars, but were they enjoying it properly?
I have to admit that I would cringe each time that Charlie would give that talk. First of all, I suspect that Stephen King enjoys writing immensely. If that’s his drug of choice, then more power to him. Even worse, I have to admit that I’m something of a writing peddler. I’ve helped people get hooked on writing over and over again.
Several times in the past year, I’ve had people write me and say things like, “I took your writing workshop last year, and since then I’ve written four novels. I just wanted to thank you, because today I got my first major sale.” Or, as happened two weeks ago, a young woman came up and showed me her first novel from a major publisher and said, “I’ve been reading your writing tips for years, and I just wanted to say ‘thank you.’ I just switched careers from being a neuroscientist to a full-time writer.”
To be honest, in my workshops I try very hard to get authors to make writing into a habit. It’s like exercising. The more you do it, the better you get, and the “stronger” your work becomes.
Last week, I wrote an article about NaNoWriMo, in which I warned that hasty writing can be a pitfall. But I have to admit that I love NaNoWriMo precisely because it does encourage writers to turn their dream of writing into a habit of writing.
Go practice writing today. Have some fun.
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