I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I’ve been meaning to, and the thing I’ve been meaning to say is that writing is a drug. Not a soft, gateway drug like coffee or cigarettes; it’s one of those drugs you get in your system and it eats up your life and turns you into that dirtiest of words–a writer.
There’s nothing wrong with being a writer, the same way there’s nothing wrong with being a schizoid or Justin Bieber. It’s not really something you can help, no matter how hard you try. If you are a writer, then trying to quit writing is like trying to give up breathing; and the more you know you should, the harder it gets. Writing is a profession, but it’s also a possession, and an obsession, and a lifestyle, because even when you’re not physically making words with your fingers, you’re searching for words in the empty space above our heads where all our good idea come from.
When I say writer, I don’t mean “one who publishes books and gets love and adoration from millions of people due to their mastery of the craft” like Neil Gaiman. Gaiman is a writer, yes, but he’s a very specific kind of writer known as a “published author” whom we should hate on principal alone, at least until we fall under that general description as well.
When I say writer, I mean someone like me, who has a problem. When I say writer, think user. Think abuser. Think achey bones and twenty minutes arguing with yourself whether this word or that is perfect. That’s what a writer is.
If you’re not a writer, then you probably don’t understand what I mean, at least not in the context of writing. You’re probably thinking, “Whoa, this guy’s a total idiot. He needs help from a mental health professional.” But if you are a writer, then I really hope you’re thinking, “Whoa, this guy gets it–this guy understands. He still needs help from a mental health professional, but at least he understands.” When I say writer, think someone who needs to be understood.