Is it Therapy or Avoidance?
It’s early evening, I’m bored, I have nothing else to do – except clean house, start the dishwasher, or do laundry. Do I do any of those things? No. I sit down and start to write. Why? Is it because writing is therapeutic? Partially. But I had an epiphany a few days ago, and came to the realization that I use writing as a way of avoiding doing something else. Though writing can be very beneficial to me, does it pay the bills yet? No, nor does it clean the house, mop the floor or any of the other endless tasks that need doing on a daily basis. I find myself looking at the dust on my antique reed organ and think, “Why bother? It will still be there tomorrow.” And it will, though a tad deeper than it is right now.
Writing is also an excellent way to ignore my children when they are fighting. It fills the gaps between meals rather nicely, and keeps me from snacking (though the coffee consumption tends to go up in direct proportion to my hours at the computer.) Typing a science fiction novel, or perhaps a “fluffy” romance is escapism. I can throw myself into the story, bringing the villain to justice, or two young people together in love.
There are times when the story must be told. It doesn’t have to be a good story, it doesn’t even have to get finished, what is important is getting the main characters to a certain point where they can dangle for infinity (and often do). I can’t count the number of stories I have pending at the moment, waiting for completion. I have many finished, all needing editing. Am I doing the editing? No. I’m writing. Do I want to do the editing? Not when there are so many delightful, useless stories waiting to be written! Far be it for me to tell myself that several of them have incredibly similar plot lines. I also needn’t mention that most of them are drivel, and I could be devoting that time and enthusiasm to something more worthwhile, like finishing the last book in my sci-fi series.