Writing as Therapy, or, Getting the Monkey off My Back

Sports dudes are superstitious. When they get on a hot streak, they refuse to change any part of their routines in fear of breaking the streak. When they’re on a cold streak, they’ll do anything to “get the monkey off their backs,” to break that bad streak.

Heinlein referred to the stories in his head in a similar way. He’d get an idea, and the voice in his head, the itch, the monkey on his back, wouldn’t rest until he’d told the story.

I find something similar is happening to me.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to ease off on my writing schedule. I’d been posting daily for almost six months, but spring came along and weekends became a choice between time with the boys, and maintaining my streak.

The choice to break the streak and go to weekdays only writing was easy, the boys are growing up and any moments I have with them are far more precious than any writing streak.

Yesterday I tweaked my back. Nothing bad, but enough that I couldn’t go paddle boarding with wifey this morning. Feeling guilty for disappointing her, I felt the demon wake up and crawl out of his cave.

The monkey is on my back. I have a mental itch, and the only way to scratch it is to write.

My life is a battle for control over my mental health, and a powerful weapon in that battle is writing. Ask any author, writing is therapy. Writing is control.

Telling this story, practicing my craft while improving just a little bit, help me work through the emotions, gain insight, gain control. Writing things gets the monkey off my back.

And, most of all, helps me push the demon back into his cave.