Last week, I decided to quit writing. Tired of rejection, tired of being a slave to words and phrases, I decided it was time I straightened out my life. So I quit. Cold turkey!
I cleared off my desk, shut down the computer, shoved all my discs and hard copies into the file cabinet, locked it and handed my husband the key. I threw the mouse into the trash and that was that.
Quitting a habit is relatively easy. I have a friend who has quit smoking 243 times.
Staying quit? Now that is a different thing altogether.
I have heard that all writers are not addicts. Some claim they can lay their writing career aside any time they choose. Others, like myself, are sucked into the literary scene after only one byline. All it takes to get us hopelessly addicted is to see our name printed in tiny letters beneath a few lines of text in a magazine.
However, there is hope for us. We can help ourselves remain ink free if we posses the willpower and the strong desire to quit.
The pencil theory. Some writers argue that carrying a pencil between their teeth or holding an empty ink pen between their fingers helps diminish their cravings. This doesn't work for me. I never can resist the urge to put the pencil to paper, so I have vowed to never touch another pencil. The surgeon General should have a warning put on the things. Blank paper is too easily obtained.
Never allow yourself any *think time*. Solitude is the worst enemy for a writer, trying to quit. The mind begins to wander and as sure as God made quotation marks, you'll find yourself filled with ideas and phrases, until your head won't be able to contain them and you'll find yourself reaching for the keyboard.
Keep busy. Clean away those dust bunnies you've allowed to collect in the corners. Watch TV. Engage in a mindless conversation on the phone or with your spouse. Go visit your mother-in-law. Always wear a blindfold when you go outside, especially if the sun is shining or if it is dark with a sky full of stars. Or if it is a lovely spring day with all the flowers peeping out of their beds or if it is a crisp sky blue winter morning with the frost decorating the windowpanes... or... On second thought.. don't go out at all. Viewing nature in all her splendor can cause inspiration to overpower your will power.
Clear off your desk. Every writer knows that creating is difficult in a neat and tidy environment. As clutter tends to inspire, a blank desk top will help you retain your blank state of mind.
You may also consider joining a self-help group for reformed writers. Last night I attended my first AWA meeting (addicted writers anonymous). Some of the stories I heard there brought a tear to my eye. One lady admitted to accepting money for her work. Can you believe that? I was ashamed for her. Another member confessed to attending his own son's school where he posed as a librarian in order to gain insight into the children's reading habits and literary preferences. Then another member stood and in a voice choking with emotion, he told of how he turned his four-year-old daughter into a schizophrenic. He constantly got his daughter confused with the child protagonist in a novel he was writing. Now his little Susie thinks her name is Yolanda.
I had a confession of my own. I fell off the wagon. We needed groceries. The children were hungry. I needed to make a list to take to the market. I was alone in the house. I sneaked into my son's room and ever so quietly, I booted up his PC, opened word pad, and began to type up my list. Suddenly something snapped.. I lost control of my fingers and somewhere between hamburger and cereal.. I wrote this article. I am weak, I am ashamed.. I am an addict.
Leeuna Foster is a Marketing Strategist, Author and Poet. She has been writing for two decades and her short fiction and poetry have won several national and regional awards. If you like Southern humor you can visit her website at: http://www.thebarefootchild.com