Writing can be joyous. It can be hard work; depressing; uplifting; surprising; rewarding…all these things I knew. What I did not realise, and what I have come to recognise over the years, is that writing is addictive.
There, I confess it. I am addicted to writing. No matter how happy or sad (or any emotion in between) that I feel when actually putting fingers to keyboard, I just know that I suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms when I am prevented from writing.
I have just had two weeks away from my desk – one family holiday week (lovely) and one week on tour visiting schools and talking to enthusiastic readers (also lovely). The second week was of course part and parcel of my writing life nowadays, and I hugely enjoy doing events. But now, after 14 days away from my computer, I am turning into a crotchety, fuming, snapping grump. I know what it is – I need my next ‘hit’. I NEED to write. It’s not just that I’ve been mulling over ideas in the meantime that are begging to be written down; it’s not just that I’ve got a deadline looming. Those things help spur me on, but actually what’s got me biting my nails and shouting at my family is my desperation to be creative – to express myself through the written word.
I hate the term ‘artistic temperament’ because it suggests someone who isn’t in control of their own behaviour; someone who throws tantrums for no good reason. But I have to admit that maybe I have it. What else could drive me back to this weird and wonderful world of creation, where every chapter is a combination of words that have never been set together in this way before? And what else could make me feel as though without this outlet for my ideas, it’s possible that I might shrivel into nothingness?
I sometimes wonder if I’d have a happier life if I had no imagination, no creative drive, no artistic ambition.
And then I think Naaaah. Life’s more fun this way!