Can’t. Stop. Writing.

Per my agent’s request, I am expanding a short story I wrote into a detailed movie treatment for Dark Castle Entertainment. Surprise: it’s a horror piece, an allegory about man and nature.

I post this news because it’s my news but also because the writing of said treatment comes at the expense of other endeavors, including this blog. While writing is homework for many people, it is nothing short of my passion. And like most passion, it’s all encompassing. In other words, once I start writing I don’t stop. It is like climbing a mountain. You want to get to the top. If I pause too long between efforts there is fear, perhaps unfounded, I will lose the motivation to continue.

But it’s more than that. Selfishly, I also do not want to stop. Getting in the zone (be it on a screenplay, novel or advertising campaign) is one of the most exciting feelings I know. My whole being is focused on the task. I think of nothing else. I want to spend time with nothing else. If this sounds like a love affair between man and story that is because it is. Obsession would be an accurate description.

I once read that former adman and famous screenwriter/director, John Hughes wrote many of his screenplays from start to finish without stopping for anything, including food and sleep. In longhand! His passion is obvious in the stories he created. But even if it wasn’t, Hughes’ obsession is completely understandable… to me anyway.

I started writing my treatment on Sunday and I’ve logged ten hours or more on it every day and night since. I will be done this weekend. Since I am not employed right now so-called real work is not a distraction. Yet, I am a husband and father. Though tempting, to not honor and take pleasure in those roles would be sinful. My middle child celebrated a birthday and my father is in town. I also take my children to various activities. In addition, I am equally fanatic about working out, finding one hour every day to do so.

Therefore, there have been plenty of breaks. Good, important, life affirming breaks. Yet, you’ll notice I call them “breaks” as if my real life was about writing and all the other stuff merely a distraction. I’m hoping other creative people can relate.

My solution has always been the same. It’s also the same message we tell our clients when they wrestle with branding versus selling: You gotta do both! It ain’t easy. In trying I sometimes make painful decisions, choosing art over everything else. But it gives me so much joy and satisfaction…

I wonder if some of you are “wired” the same way and, if so, what do you do about it?