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Lament of a Word Addict


Someone once asked me what it was like to be a writer. After I looked around to discover that it was really me she was addressing, I responded with the first thing that came to mind.


“It’s an addiction!” I surprised even myself with that response until I thought about it more.

An addiction is something you cannot control—at least without a great deal of determination or help. That fits. Sometimes I find myself assaulted by ideas. Like this morning when I thought I would get another hour of shut-eye but my mind started racing through ideas and selecting words for this blog.


“Go way!” I moaned pulling the pillow over my head in hopes of drowning out the distraction. But this doesn’t work well when the distraction is within my head. So I finally gave in and got up to peck away at my keyboard and capture the ideas before they—fickle as they can be—flit away perhaps to lodge in someone else’s unsuspecting head.


This is not the first time or place I have been assaulted by ideas for something to write. These thoughts rarely appear at opportune times. I can sit at my computer for hours knowing I have a deadline for a book or an article and creative thoughts elude me. But in bed, in the shower, at work, in the car, any place inopportune and creative ideas march through my head like little storm troopers. Unfortunately, even if I manage to jot down what seem like brilliant thoughts on whatever is at hand (I have been known to write them on toilet paper), my imagination then deserts me challenging me to develop these images into full blown stories or books. That is often the hard part.


My dad was a writer too. I envied him. When he had an idea, he would cloister himself in his study and write. Mom was his sentry. By her order, no one or nothing breached the sanctity of the closed door of Dad’s study. I wish I had that luxury. My writing time competes with getting meals, doing laundry, attending to work calls and a husband who enjoys bringing his lunch to my writing space to ‘chat’. Chatting is not what I have in mind when I am deeply embroiled in a story or article. But I guess I am doing okay despite my distractions. I stopped counting at ten books to my dad’s one (Sorry Dad!).


I guess I never truly owned the title of writer despite a respectable publications list (she says humbly). In my younger days, I used to think that someone who called him or herself a writer was a ‘wanna-be’.


“I’m a writer”, says he or she.

“Oh, what have you published?”

“Well, I am working on…….”


While publishing may not be the final definition of a writer, it does give one some credibility. Perhaps I should now feel comfortable calling myself a writer. On the other hand, word addict seems like a more appropriate title though I am not sure that anyone who is not a writer would fully understand the meaning of that phrase. I guess I had best just get busy developing the latest thoughts that my addictive mind has presented me with and not worry about what to call myself.


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