When he was asked what he would do if he was told he was going to die, Asimov responded, “Type faster.”
When asked whether he loved writing more than his daughter, he responded “writing,” but he paused a moment, which he hoped she understood meant that at least he had to think about the question.
Asimov was a compulsive. Perhaps not so detrimentally or tragically as Hemingway or Faulkner or a plethora of other alcoholic writers. But make no mistake, Asimov was an addict.
And so am I. And so are you, if you are a writer. Heinlein put it this way, it hurts less to write that does not to write. If that describes your condition, then you my friend are an addict.
There is a famous writer who wrote 250 words an hour everyday like clockwork. He is held up in writing circles as a model of time management. He could also be an example for every 12 step program.
If you, like me, measure your life out in the coffee spoons of every new word, then you too may be an addict.
Should you get help? Well, writing is less destructive than other addictions. But, on the other hand, if you’re having a hard time enjoying other aspects of life and are focused exclusively on writing as the definition of success or joy in your life, rather than, say, your family or beautiful children, then you might want to reconsider.
I had a colleague once ask me why God gave us children when we are in our prime working years. I did not respond, but my immediate thought was that God knows what is truly important — that we should, of course, focus our energy on our children. Certainly one can do both. I’m not judging.
In my next post, I’ll talk about how I beat the addiction and how I eventually came back to writing on my own terms.