I Can’t Quit You: Return of the Attention Whore

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: I am an attention whore. As such, it is hard for me to quit something that might garner me praise. It’s shallow, I know, but it works for me.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I absolutely want to quit writing. I definitely have those moments of desperate frustration when, more than anything else, what I’m actually doing is running away from writing. I have a classic love/hate relationship with the creative process.

The meditative high you get when you’re on a roll and the words are flowing is an addictive feeling. At the same time, the dread of a deadline when you don’t feel like you have anything worth saying is equally devastating. And those times when you lie in bed feeling guilty about the words you didn’t produce that day are just agony.

I freaking hate the way writing, or perhaps I should say the way not writing, makes me feel. At the same time, I crave that attention you get when you actually manage to do a good job. If even one person comments that they enjoyed something I wrote, I’m on cloud nine for the rest of the day.

Feed the monkey, people, and he will dance.

I have had conversations with myself about just walking away from the whole writing thing, but in truth, I don’t know what else I would do. I’m a reasonably good technical writer in my day job, but telling stories is what I enjoy most in life.

For all you creative types out there, you can attest to the rush of adrenaline you get when you finish a project. I had a writing teacher who referred to it as “finishing energy.” That euphoric jolt goes a long way toward erasing the memories of the sleepless nights, and in my experience, the longer the prose, the stronger the jolt.

With all due respect to my wife, typing “The End” on the last page of your novel is so much better than sex. (And yes, people, I’m sure I’m doing it right. The sex, I mean. I have reference books and everything. The writing, I’m less sure, but I muddle through. Incidentally, I have books about that too.)

To get back to the point, I think it’s normal to get frustrated and want to quit. But like anything else, your ability to keep going depends on how important writing is to your life. If it’s just a hobby, and you could take it or leave it, there are easier ways to spend your days.

But if you’re one of the desperate types who crave the energy and the attention, you probably have very little say in whether or not you’re allowed to quit. Like any good junkie, you’ll find a way to get your fix. One agonizing word at a time.

Larry Jenkins is an aspiring Word Pimp. Has laptop, will travel. Let's make this happen, people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.