The Writing Bug is a relentless condition, often unresponsive to treatment, in which victims are compelled to make up stories involving people that don’t really exist, putting them in situations that don’t really happen, in order to (hopefully) entertain people and amuse themselves. The cause is unknown, although some cases can be attributed to its sister condition known as The Reading Bug (*see note at end).
- A strong desire to write
- Sometimes, an inability to write, despite a strong desire to do so (go figure!)
- Meals are often skipped when they are in the midst of writing
- For some, meals are eaten at the desk instead of the dining table
- The victim may be addicted to coffee, tea, chocolate, or other stimulants
- Irritability when writing is interrupted
- Tendency to eavesdrop, stare at, and stalk interesting strangers
- May occasionally pull out a notepad to jot down God knows what
- Often runs to the computer yelling ‘I’ve got it!’ or ‘Now I know what to do in chapter seven!’ while in the middle of something else, such as a shower, dinner, a phone conversation, or in severe cases even childbirth
- The victim may hear voices in their head, but will deny this, saying it is their ‘characters’
- Tendency to have conversations with themselves. Again, they’ll say they are ‘just getting the dialogue right’, but this is just part of the denial
- The habit of cutting out pictures from magazines of gorgeous men (or women) to add to the so called ‘hero’ file
- An associated symptom called ‘procrastination’ may develop; resulting in the victim feeling compelled to perform menial tasks in order to prevent themselves from writing. Some have been known to catalogue their kitchen cupboards, alphabetise their book collection, or pull the fridge out to clean underneath it. In severe cases, one may even call their mother-in-law for a chat.
- Often, the victim may appear to develop a growth on the end of their fingers strangely resembling a keyboard or laptop. Once there, it is hard to remove
- Victims may find their fictional world more interesting than the real world
- An addiction to Google can result, but they will say this is ‘all in the name of research’
- Victims will repeatedly check their emails in hope of hearing from a prospective editor or agent
- Published victims will use their ‘deadline’ as an excuse to avoid social events they don’t wish to attend, or as a way of getting out of exercise and dentists appointments
- A bad back or neck problems can result. It is thought that this is a psychosomatic complication elicited by their subconscious to ensure they can spend most of their time sitting down
- They often start hanging around with other victims, but this only fuels the condition
There is no cure for The Writing Bug.
*Note: The Writing Bug must not be confused with The Reading Bug, in which victims are unable to stop buying books and reading them, taking every opportunity to open those pages and delve into the story. It must be said however, that some cases of The Reading Bug will progress to a secondary affliction of The Writing Bug. For those that do, the prognosis is poor, as The Reading Bug fuels The Writing Bug.
Please spread the awareness of this life-changing condition with loved ones, before it’s too late.
~ Thanks to Toni & Deb for advising me of some extra symptoms