Writing - A Toxic Love
I’ve always been obsessive. Always.
First, when I was little, it was dinosaurs. Everything needed to have dinosaurs on. No matter what it was. Cups, clothes, canvases. My bedroom was a pre-historic shrine.
Next, it was video games.
My early teen years were mainly sitting by myself in a dark room, staying up all night on RedBulls and family-size snack bags.
I’m talking sixteen-hour sessions. Sometimes twenty-four.
I wouldn’t tear myself away until I was forced to, either by school or by my mum saying I was turning into a loner-weirdo. And even then, when I was away from the games, they were the only thing I talked about.
After I discovered booze, that’s when the video-games chapter ended. Late-teens, I was out every night of the week, neglecting responsibilities or scraping pennies together for cheap cider. Drinking games. Morning sessions. Lunch sessions. Open-mic nights. Festivals. Skipping the ‘boring’ things in life so that I could party-it-up.
I know most teens are like that, but… just trust me on this…
It’s a miracle I got into university, let alone survived.
And now, in my mid-twenties, my obsession has turned to something even more intense.
Something which I can’t escape. There’s no leaving it. No locking it away…
Yes yes, I know, sounds dramatic. But bear with me. I’m sure other writers would agree.
If I had things my way, I’d be locked in a dark room, staying up all night on RedBulls and family-size snack bags. Maybe a few beers. Bottle of whiskey. A line of cocai-
No, right, anyway…
My point is, with writing, I’ve fallen back into my old habits of loving solitude and being left alone for hours upon hours, days upon days – weeks even – pouring all my heart and soul and passion and energy into something which will never love me back in the same way.
On the rare occasions it does speak back to me, most of the time it says,
'You’re shit at this. You’re a failure. You may as well give up now.'
But I can’t.
I literally cannot stop myself from jumping headfirst into this abusive, one-sided relationship. Last year when I was furloughed, it was twelve-hour days of writing, seven days a week.
Recently, I turned the grand-old-age of twenty-six, and I’d booked the day off work, just ‘because’.
When my girlfriend woke up and found me not in bed, she came through to the living room and saw me, half asleep, a total mess, writing on my beat-up old laptop.
‘Why are you doing that?’ she said. ‘It’s your birthday, don’t you want a day off?’
And I was hunched over, thinking, ‘But this IS a day off!’
I’m so obsessed with the ideas in my head, that they sometimes get in the way of normal life. I’ll drift off in conversations. I’ll stay up at night, tossing and turning in bed. I’ll get a horrible, hideous brain-itch if I’ve not written anything in a while.
If I can’t put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, my mental health takes a serious hit. Like a type of writer’s withdrawal.
Writer’s block gives me the same feeling. In fact, it’s worse.
Staring at a blank page, wanting oh-so-desperately to get something, anything out, is like an electric drill in my eye socket.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not alone in this. I’m no special case.
Writers, on the whole, tend to be a rather intense bunch.
But you know what? It’s worth it. It’s so, so worth it, when you can finally read back through something you’re half happy with and think,
Yup, I did this. Nice one.
You can slump down, beer or RedBull in hand, stare out the window and exhale.
And before you know it, the next idea’s already forming…