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Write From Home
Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

E-mail: kim @ writefromhome.com

Writer's Mind
by Lisamarie Sanders

It took me completely by surprise. When I first made the decision to become a writer, I had the support of a network of women who had made the same choice. They were very encouraging, and offered endless guidance. Little did I know they were keeping a very important secret--the effects of Writer's Mind.

I admit, even if I had been told, I probably wouldn't have believed it. "It could never happen to me," I'd think. "They must be weak or weird to believe in something as crazy as Writers Mind!"

But it did happen to me. And since it's something no one else will talk about, I'm going to risk my reputation (okay, so I'm not risking much) to let potential writers know about it.

Writer's Mind is a disease. Those of us who are afflicted can't see anything as it is. Instead, we are always looking for the article or novel in it. It follows you everywhere--to church, the bus stop, the grocery store, even to bed.

For example, I was in the grocery store yesterday when I overheard two women talking. They were complaining about the price of milk. Prior to becoming a writer, I would have ignored the conversation. But my Writer's Mind would not allow it. All day I replayed the dialogue in my head, contemplating the myriad of articles it could generate. Questions abounded: "Is milk expensive?" "Where would we be without it?" "How much work goes into making a gallon of milk?" "Are there any dessert recipes that don't require milk?" On and on it went. The entire afternoon.

This simple conversation affected me in more than a nonfiction way, as well. Thoughts of fictional characters bounced against the walls of my brain. "Was she a competing market owner trying to undermine her enemy's success with milk sales?" "Was she a spy speaking in code to a collaborator?" "Was she an overzealous lactation consultant who finally weaned her 23-year-old and now needs to buy milk for the first time?"

I lay awake all night, bombarded by a stream of ideas. Tired and grumpy, I rolled out of bed the next morning, as my children whined for a glass of milk. "Don't they know how expensive it is?" I wondered.

For me, the worst part of this disease is that nothing is sacred. A once solemn and reverent church-goer, I now find myself terribly distracted. I look at the old parishioners and write imaginary memoirs. I gaze at the young couples and compose mental love stories. I watch children fidget and secretly draft Top Ten lists of things their parents could have done to keep them occupied.

Then there's the bedroom. Forget about reckless abandon. While making love, the Writer's Mind turns to erotica stories and "Six Steps to Satisfying Sex" articles. "How to Achieve Orgasm" will have to wait until I forgo my current vocation.

But Writer's Mind isn't just a disease. It's also an addiction. Why else would a woman who left a successful career to raise her children (okay, me) purposefully deceive her toddlers into thinking she was going upstairs to put away laundry when she was really checking her e-mail for a response from an editor...twelve times a day. (Luckily they're too young to realize that no one could have that much laundry every day.)

The addiction becomes more obvious with every celebration dinner I make after receiving a hand-signed rejection letter. This is not normal behavior...for anyone but a writer.

So, new writers, be warned. This malady is real. It is frightening. And now that I have divulged the secret, I'm sure you will find more writers who openly admit their addiction.

Or, perhaps, I am just weak and weird...

Lisamarie Sanders is a freelance writer living in the Washington, DC area. She has suffered from Writer's Mind for over a year now, but is not seeking a cure. If you'd like to learn more about Lisamarie, please visit her Web site: http://www.Joy-Writer.com









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