Addiction is a word that describes many things, yet at it’s core it retains it’s singular meaning. Mostly, it’s implications are disastrous to mental health, but as I writer I often find it is the addiction to my imaginary worlds that keeps me returning to explore the characters and scenes.  It is the key quality of my personality, for good or bad, that has fuelled my creative processes; without it I may well have a successful job and be living the life of pleasure that comes with job security: but at the cost that I would also be empty inside.

Alcoholism and drugs are no joke and my comparison is the compulsion that one gets to do something that offers peace from the reality of life, so in that way I am compelled to escape into my own worlds of fantasy because life is better there. I don’t have to think about how alone I feel, or how unjust the world is, or of the atrocities that people commit in distant parts of the world.

I don’t have to worry about what people think of me because the characters I am addicted to are personifications of my inner self who are worthy, just and capable; I love them intensely.

I imagine I am them.

This makes for better characters and better stories because I am so utterly addicted to my world that I can think about nothing else and find it difficult sometimes to function in the physical world. It’s great for churning out words too.

Hold a job though? Forget it!

Of course this addiction is a common problem for writers throughout history. Charles Dickens was famous for his addiction to Opium, Edgar Allan Poe for alcoholism, and even Stephen King’s family staged an intervention over his cocaine habit. Yet the person who springs to my mind most clearly is Ernest Hemingway, whose alcohol addiction and escapism from the real world tragically ended in suicide.

The answer to this ugly quality I don’t know. It is a common problem amongst writers, great and unknown, but being aware of it perhaps it can be better understood and managed.

All qualities are a part of us and we can choose how they manifest in our personalities.  How does addiction rear it’s head in your writing life and how do you manage it?


21 responses to “Addiction

  1. Fascinating start to the challenge. I never really thought about addiction in the context of writing, but it makes sense reading how you describe it. I found the idea of being so addicted to one’s imaginary worlds that it’s hard to function in the physical world to be very interesting. Looking forward to see what you come up with for the rest of the challenge.
    Cheers – Ellen |

  2. You’re off to an excellent start to the challenge with this post! I got to wondering as I was reading if it’s possible to be a writer without having some sort of addictive personality. I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol, but when I’m writing, it feels all consuming. Thanks for getting my mind working!
    Amy Morris-Jones

  3. That is an interesting way to look at addiction. I’ve never really thought about my writing as an addiction. It certainly was when I was writing Fan Fiction. All I thought about was writing the next part, and then when I wasn’t thinking about it I was either writing it or reading other peoples.

    You always make me think (always in a good way.)

    to answer you question I think I’m addicted to ideas. I’m always coming up with ideas but never following through. Think I really need to address that part of my writing habbit and push the ideas to one side and focus on one!

  4. I never thought of addiction in quite this way, but the writing certainly does anchor my life . . . my characters are as real as people I actually see face-to-face! Maybe I don’t quite agree that I’m addicted to writing because IF I don’t write, I’m grumpy. When I’m writing, I have more energy for all the other commitments that are important to me — family, community, and other jobs. Fine opening entry for the AtoZ Challenge. Looking forward to more.

  5. Great post! I’ve never thought of my writing as an addiction but I guess my husband might think so. Taking it further–I’m addicted to markets. I chase them everywhere when I should concentrate on my novel writing. Yeah, that’s my addiction and I’ll join ya’ll in the procrastinating too. 🙂

  6. I think that writing exposes aspects of my personality that I am not always comfortable with. I imagine if I was unable to cope with the rawness of what gets written what becomes uncovered, I might turn to drink or drugs. Writing brings out all the best and worst I have to offer the world. It resists my efforts to control or dictate it, while at the same time satisfying me in a way that nothing else ever has. I am addicted to it, but not afraid of it. I understand where the compulsion comes from and how to best handle it. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I’m naive. Either way, I’m fine with it.

  7. Pingback: B- Block: The Self-deprecating Method of Preventing your own Success | Jessica Triana·

  8. Very thought provoking!! Having known u for so long I know that u are always worthy… ur gentle insight into such matters that make u so enlightening to be around. Looking forward to the next one already!!

  9. I think all of us are addicted to at least one thing, whether it is chocolate, alcohol or writing. I am addicted to travel, which has become my lifestyle. That being said, I have to stop for a while now, because it wears one out and because I want to focus on my writing. Does that mean I am now addicted to writing? Not sure. Sometimes, I see it as a chore, but, since I write every day, having more than one day off would leave me empty and a bit lost!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

  10. Interesting! I’d never thought of writing as an addiction, but thinking about how my head keeps returning to scenes, story lines, and characters…no matter what else I’m doing…
    Great post.

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