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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Signs you are addicted to writing

Can’t. Stop. Writing.

Hi. My name is Bruce. I am addicted to writing.

You too might be suffering from the same affliction. Let us dive into some telltale signs of a writing addict.

Illustration by Bruce Flow

Sign 1: In conversations, you are picking out details to write about

When you are listening to anything fascinating or amusing in conversations, your eyes light up. You make a mental note about the juicy idea. It could be your next writing inspiration.

Normally, people are bad listeners because they are thinking about what to say next instead of listening attentively.

You are a bad listener because you are preoccupied with thinking how the topic of conversation can be used as writing material.

Sign 2: You have a to-write list, not a to-do list

Normal people have to-do lists. Lists that contain items like:

  • buy milk
  • get a greeting card for Andy’s birthday party
  • book appointment with the hairdresser

Who needs milk? Screw Andy and his birthday. Longer hair looks better anyway.

You are consumed by a soul-eating urge to work on your to-write list. Entries get added to the list faster than you can write. So many ideas, so little time!

Sign 3: When reading, you can’t help but to analyze how the piece is written

Some musicians, producer and audio technicians have difficulty listening to music for the sake of enjoyment. They are compelled to take apart songs in their head to analyze the song structure, lyrics, sounds of individual instruments and recording quality.

As a writing addict, you find it hard to enjoy reading. You automatically look out for peculiar sentence structures, catchy phrases, the tone and coherence of the piece of writing you read.

Writing, a blessing and a curse.

Sign 4: Unnecessary editing

Long gone are the carefree days when you could happily write something and send it on its way.

Your text messages are written in complete sentences, edited for spelling and grammar. The punctuation is immaculate. Emojis are added as an afterthought to give an impression that it is written by a normal person.

Sign 5: You extract writing lessons from everything you read

When you read books on any subject, you figure out how it can be applied to writing. Books about relationships, entrepreneurship, fashion, and pets are interpreted as books about writing.

While you are reading Martha Steward’s cookbooks, you are thinking of what “ingredients” or “recipes” you want to utilize in your blog post or book.

Sign 6: Writing hangover

You start writing at 7 P.M. Words fill the initially empty page effortlessly. You keep hacking relentlessly on the keyboard.

Before you know it, the clock on your computer says it is 2 A.M. Darn. It’s time to go to bed. You can’t sleep because your brain is overloaded with all those ideas that you want to put on the page.

You show up to work the next morning with panda eye rings. You need a glass of orange juice and a mug of coffee to counter the fatigue.

You have a case of writing hangover.

Sign 7: You exercise to clear your head

There are days when you are obsessive about writing. You can’t stop thinking about writing even if you are not writing.

You often go for evening runs or lift weights to clear your head. Getting fitter from the exercise is a wonderful secondary benefit.

Got six-pack abs? You might have gotten it from writing too much.

Sign 8: You feel naked without a pen and a notepad

Before you leave your home, you have a ritual of placing a notepad and a pen in your pocket. You have a collection of beautiful pens to choose from.

You get panic attacks if you forget your notepad at home. You desperately claw at the fleeting ideas, hoping they are still with you when you get home.

If you could choose, you would rather forget wearing pants than forget your notepad.

Sign 9: You chuckle at “how to be consistent at writing” articles

You come across articles offering advice on how to write on a consistent basis. Typical recommendations include ideas to coerce writers to write every day even if they do not feel like it.

You can’t comprehend the necessity of those articles. To you, they sound like someone offering advice on how to breathe air.

Your issue is the polar opposite: you can’t stop writing. Reading books on overcoming addictions would be more appropriate for your situation.

Sign 10: You wake up in the morning with writing material in your head

Maybe the ideas are from dreams you vaguely remember. Maybe your subconscious mind is churning out writing inspiration while you were sleeping.

The first thing you do in the morning is picking up that notepad on your nightstand to record ideas in your head. Having done that, you feel free to get to the less important parts of your morning routine such as brushing your teeth and eating breakfast.

Dealing with addiction

Recovery from addiction is a long and winding road. During recovery, denial is one of the main obstacles. You have to accept the fact that you are a writing addict. There is no shame in it.

It could be worse, it could be an addiction to crystal meth or dancing to 70s disco music.

SOURCE: BRUCE FLOW

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