The writing bug is a serious malady that can strike at any time, anywhere. Sadly, the writing bug is considered to be a chronic disease, not unlike mono or herpes, with no true ‘cure’. Sufferers will likely have symptom-free episodes followed by symptomatic episodes for the rest of their lives.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Dark circles under eyes
- House in a state of disarray
- Muttering out loud about characters
- Noted disturbances in laundry schedule (the use of a “sniff test” is considered a warning sign of a serious problem)
- Disturbances in sleep patterns
- Decreased awareness of time (e.g., saying “I’ll just write for ten more minutes, then go to bed”, but instead writing for several hours)
- Zoning out
- Frequent episodes of procrastination
- Rationalisation (“it’s okay to just order pizza instead of cooking, as long as I get an extra 1,000 words done”)
- Stress levels which may be either increased or dramatically reduced
- A clear problem with priorities (e.g. “write now, pee later”)
The writing bug is not considered to be contagious. Certainly, it is perfectly safe to read something written by someone afflicted. It is not necessary to disinfect objects touched by someone with the writing bug. If you share a bed with someone who has the writing bug, your own sleep patterns may be disturbed by your mate’s sudden need to get up and write down an idea that just came into their heads at 3:00 a.m.. While this is uncomfortable, it is temporary, and not a sign that you have the condition yourself.
Should you suspect any of your loved ones have contracted this disease, be careful not to worry them. Instead, point them gently towards a cup of coffee. Plentiful rest and frequent showers should be encouraged. Where possible, provide meals (writers have been known to eat only what can be made quickly in a microwave, or to forget about meals altogether). Do not trouble the afflicted person with things like “deadlines” or “very important meetings”. During symptomatic episodes, be prepared to take on a heightened workload.
Above all, remember that to write is to descend slowly into madness. Act accordingly.