Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Are writers addicted?

Addiction is never a good thing. People can fall prey to alcohol and drug addictions, gaming, gambling, food, and even social media. When you consume your choice of addictive substance your brain rewards you with a squirt of happy. If you want more happy squirts you must consume more of the addictive substance which provides it. And as time passes more substance is required to achieve those squirts. The cycle can be all consuming, and hard, and often painful, to exit from. I'm not speaking from personal experience. Well, okay maybe a little with social media. But actually ....

... is it possible to become addicted to response from publishers? Yeses to a submission produce a huge surge of elation. And every subsequent interaction around your soon to be publication also gives you a little happy squirt. And then it's reviews and reactions and mentions in the media. More squirts. Even rejections, while giving you a squirt of misery also take on a compulsive aspect. There is something satisfying about ripping off the band-aid. Folk joke about the constant refreshing of their inbox as they wait for replies from the agents and/or publishers they've submitted to.  While we wait and refresh, we obsess about what is happening in the publisher's or agent's office. Have they even read what we sent them? Is it going to committee? Why is it taking so long? I have to keep throwing my hat in the ring to keep my chances of publication alive. I have to keep published to stay relevant. These things are bad enough without having the need for a fix thrown in. If writing is our sole occupation, our main distractions are talking about our work with others, either students or colleagues, or working on more stories to submit. The cycle is endless. And suddenly that 100 rejections thing might not be such a good idea after all. It'll feed that addiction. And while some addictions are definitely worse than others, no addiction is ever a good thing.

Are we addicted to replies from publishers/agents? And if we are how do we stay in the business and not get caught up in the addictive cycle of needing the reply. Of that need for a fix. In an industry where they come few and far between.

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