4 Ways To Tell If You’ve Been Bitten By the Writing Bug

Have you ever had an itch to write that you just needed to scratch? Perhaps you’ve been bitten by the writing bug! Here's how to tell.


Excerpted from my purple “poppin” journal on (January 27, 2015)

Sleep Can Wait

1. You need to write more than you need sleep

It’s nearly 1:00 o’clock in the morning, and I know I should be getting to bed, but I also know I should be writing. So which is more important?

I decide that sleep can wait.

I’ve been enjoying my hiatus in writing fiction for around a week—save a few days—but that doesn’t mean I want to stop writing altogether. Part of my little fiction “vacation” has been finally getting back to my reading list.

A Writing Book Filled with Wonder

2. Other writers’ ideas resonate with or are identical to your own

I’m currently in between several books, but my main focus is on two: the newest book by Stephen King (a short story collection entitled Bazaar of Bad Dreams) and a very intriguing book simply titled Wonderbook, by Jeff Vandermeer.

The latter is subtitled “The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction,” and has been immensely helpful in guiding me on what to look for to make my stories the best they can be. I’m learning so much about the elements of a story, the best place to begin a story and what not to do at the beginning, and the writing process in general. I never knew how expansive—beyond the clichéd advice about plot, characters, setting, etc.—writing fiction could be.

It’s interesting to see that some of the ideas I myself have had about writing are confirmed in the book’s pages. The interview with Neil Gaiman about [story/novel] beginnings is a great example of how a professional writer jots down thoughts and ideas about his stories the same way I do.

The Writing Bug Strikes Again

3. You need to write more than you need time off

There’s still much to learn in the field of writing, and I’m content to keep learning and absorbing all I can, writing all the while. I’m amazed at how satisfied I’ve been to just sit back and allow myself to enjoy reading again, without the guilt of not having written any fiction [lately].

And why not? I wrote my fingers to the bone and pried open the recesses of my mind trying to finish [not one but] two novels and a self-help book last year. Why not give myself a month to relax instead of just over a week? An immediate answer that just sprang to mind: Because the writing bug has bitten me, and its larvae are now in my bloodstream, maturing inside me, where they will grow up to provide me with many stories—siblings—for as long as I wish to nurture them.

It’s All Out There for the Writing

4. You begin to talk—or write—in “writer speak”

I’m curious—immensely so—about what may ink its way onto the page and where it may lead, the characters and places I’ll [get to] explore, and the answers I might find. It’s all out there, waiting to be discovered, waiting for someone to rise up and tell its stories. Stories that inspire and excite. Stories that motivate and move to tears, joy, and laughter. Stories that warm the soul on a cold winter’s night and cool the skin during the warm summer months, accompanying a fellow booklover somewhere to a beach or cabin getaway [or state park].

The stories that move me are the ones I want to create and share with others so that they may also know the joy of experiencing life to the fullest.

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