Great Writers: Recovering Word Addicts

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. (Plato)

This confirms it….I’m a fool.

Actually…I’m a foolish word addict.

Hello, my name is Meagan and I am a pathological writer.

I sometimes write because I have something to say, but very often I write because I HAVE to say something.

I can tell when the words have made a pile in my head. My mind slows, I can hardly get it to stop running the same phrase over and over, and until I write it down, it becomes a roadblock to functional living.

My husband asked me once, “How many words do you think you write in a day?”

I honestly have no idea. I write comments on articles, blogposts, drafts of ideas for my next book, facebook posts, presentation material, emails, ghostwriting projects, notes. (I just decided…right now… I am going to start to use a wordometer to track my daily word-count.)

I am starting to think I might be addicted…I exhibit most of the signs (according to about.com):

Extreme mood changes – happy, sad, excited, anxious, etc 

Ask my family about how my mood follows a writing day…

Sleeping a lot more or less than usual, or at different times of day or night

Inspiration strikes when it wants to…and I’ll be up at wee hours and napping in late afternoon

Changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely tired or energetic

Wordless= Tired         Got the flow on= Full of Energy

Seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times

I am unwell when writing is blocked and better when words come easily.

Pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual

Apparently the hours spent at a computer screen are not conducive to normal pupils.

Secretiveness

Kids ask, “Mom, why are you in the closet with the door locked?” The answer that I rarely verbalize is, “So these words and I can hang out all by ourselves!”

Lying

Husband asks, “what are you doing in there?” “nothing…just checking some emails.”

Stealing

I shamefully admit I steal words and ideas from people all the time.

Financially unpredictable, perhaps having large amounts of cash at times but no money at all at other times.

Yikes! Now I’m really worried…this perfectly describes my finances since taking on writing as a full-time gig.

Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, odd cell-phone conversations.

Have you ever heard a group of writers talk about things?

Repeated unexplained outings, often with a sense of urgency

There are times I simply run out of my house with my laptop in hand. I cannot think past the noise of our children, my husband, and our dog, and I don’t take time to explain to them that if I don’t find the space to write the words out…I’ll tragically lose them altogether.

So, the first step to recovery is acceptance, right? I’m pleased to be moving out of denial, but I am unsure whether I will ever be able to abandon this addiction entirely. I think at this point I want to become a much more sophisticated addict.

I want to harness the compulsion and wisely consume, dispense, and manipulate those words so that I am no longer just saying things to say them, but rather controlling myself so that I use words only to say something that needs to be said.

It might be possible to adopt the identity of a “social writer” but in case I can’t…please make sure when you commmit me…they let me take my laptop too!

Copyright 2012     Meagan Frank              www.meaganfrank.com                            Choosing to Grow

 

Taking Control of Change

Day One of Momalom’s Five for Five


 

For most of my life I have been thrown around by change.

My mom likes to tell the story about how I handled a family move when I was two years old.  I stared at the packing boxes for the entire night before we moved. She identified early that I was not comfortable with change.

She was right.  I never really liked change, but I grew to know it well, and I became rather good at dealing with it.

I learned to navigate a world where dads change from sober to drunk. I adjusted to life with a single mom. I watched my body change (thankfully short-term) from athletic to practically immobile. I eventually accepted the change from high school to college, despite the uncomfortable challenge it was for me. I rode the wave of change into my marriage and into early motherhood.  I changed houses six times. And then the roll-over car accident… changed everything.

Change was what happened TO me.  I had found a way to float through life, to take stock of the tumult happening around me, and then pride myself on my abilities to adjust. Riding the wave of change is what I learned to do.

I also learned that it is easier to get stuck that way, than it is to take charge of change for yourself.

If what you know is to bat things out of the air, to defend yourself against assault, or to run quickly in a new direction… it is more comfortable to keep doing exactly what you’ve always done.

The most important thing that I have learned though is that the tools to navigate change will only take you so far.

Life is better lived if YOU are the change-maker.

When I felt as though I were out of options to navigate change…I decided to change my life myself.

With three kids and a husband who travels far away from us for weeks at a time, the change seemed impossible…outlandish even. So I started with the only changes I could make.

I changed my internal script. I started to regularly ask myself, what positive thought could I orchestrate when negativity and frustration were the only things I really wanted to think? It didn’t happen overnight, and it is still not perfectly achieved, but I feel like it’s getting easier. (I thank Dr. Martin Seligman and his book Authentic Happiness)

Change still happens in our house.  My husband is literally on the road today…changing from telecommuter to out-of-state worker.

Our 12-year-old son is quickly changing into a hormonal pre-teen and our girls are changing at both the molecular and the visible level too.

I cannot control that change is part of life, but I have come to believe that I have control to change my attitude, my approach, my perspective, and NO ONE else can do that but me.

I lean heavily (and regularly) on a prayer that has helped me for my entire life, and I offer it up to you here:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

The courage to change the things I can.

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Here’s to being change-makers!!

To learn more about Meagan or her current choosing to grow project, you can visit her website:  www.meaganfrank.com.

Copyright  2012      Meagan Frank                                Choosing to Grow