I think I was like any kid in the 1980's. I stood in long lines to see Star Wars, dressed like Madonna, and pretended I was older than twelve so I could sneak into one of those new PG-13 rated movies. After graduating from college, I eagerly threw myself into the business world. At that time, my only writing talent was politically correct phrases to impress my manager:
Our profitability will depend on the ability to improve our talent selection with individuals that exhibit the success behavior of our contributor model.
After several years of writing in this style, I eventually concluded that I wanted to write something else for once in my life. I recall a particular day when I felt like my usual frazzled self as I tried to juggle a family and a career. Exhausted at the end of the day, I flicked on the television and some counselor woman expressed deep concern about bottled up feelings. To overcome this, she suggested writing. I decided to give it a try.
And then I couldn't stop.
Just one hit had me wanting more. Like any junkie, I began to look for any reason I could find for my next fix. Suddenly, I wanted to pay bills online, buy all our Christmas gifts through Amazon.com, and even check the weather through our local news channel website.
I finally decided to share my stories online. But publishing my work was completely terrifying. Revealing my addiction felt as if I was trying to head down a twelve-step recovery program. Suddenly, every small piece of my soul was being revealed for criticism. My palms became sweaty on the keyboard as I demonstrated every weakness imaginable in grammar usage.
Then one day, I was surprised to discover I had a group of people following one of my stories. To my amazement, I began to receive e-mails, even a few comical death threats, from people who were impatiently waiting for my next chapter to be posted online.
As I sit here on the computer, I realize I am not immune to relapses. I still have the urge to hide how much time I spend writing, especially as I must resort to using a flashlight to weed my flowerbeds so late at night.
But I also remember a time when I received a review from a woman who actually blamed me for a sleepless night. She criticized me for having far too many cliff hangers, which only made her eyes strain because of her long hours looking at a computer screen. It was my fault that she became addicted to my story. It was at that moment when something registered inside of me. Someone was blaming me for their addiction to reading.
I realized I was no longer a junkie...but a writer.