Common Health Conditions for Writers

Drew Coffman

Writers are alarmingly susceptible to certain overlooked and under-reported maladies. But early detection is key, and as a fellow author concerned about the well-being of his community, I implore you to take two minutes out of your day to review the following list of bouts, diseases, and syndromes that may already be wreaking havoc on your life:

Pop Song Syndrome: When you can’t tell if you’re sick of reading your manuscript or if it really does suck.

Doppelitis (Mild-to-Moderate): When you start spotting your characters walking around in real life.

Doppelitis (Severe): When you think it’s a good idea to approach said people and talk in your manuscript’s code just to make sure.

Stalky Tweet-Tweet: When you watch an agent’s every move on social media and try to understand how they could possibly have time for 140 characters when they’re supposed to be reading your full.

Empty Nest Syndrome: When you’ve published and feel like all your book’s characters have suddenly left your home.

Halting Hand Complex: When you can’t hit the Send key for a query letter, partial, or full.

Shit Pox: When you receive a rejection.

Bloody Shit Pox: When you receive a rejection after a partial.

Uncontrollably Bloody Shit Pox: When you receive a rejection after a full.

Baby Bird Complex: When you can’t be confident about an edit unless someone else tells you it’s good.

Dead End Syndrome: When you insist on checking said manuscript or letter for errors right after sending.

Kool-Aid Shock: When a new character suddenly crashes into a late draft.

Oscaritis: When you’re happy for a fellow writer’s success, but still want the shiny thing yourself.

Launch Brain: When you can’t find your keys for the tenth time, only to remember you don’t own a car.

Purple Nurple: When you don’t feel like you fit in with the literary crowd.

Body Maintenance Shut-Down: When you’re forced to stop writing because you haven’t eaten in 12 hours.

Childus Interruptus: When you start regretting ever having kids.

Broken Elevator Syndrome: When a stranger asks you what your book’s about and you freeze.

Knee-Groin Reaction: When someone pats you on the head after you’ve told them you’re a writer.

Roommate Scaredom: When you’re caught acting out scenes in the bathroom mirror.

Sidewalk Scaredom: When you’re overheard muttering dialogue to yourself on your way home.

Snuffleupagus Syndrome: When your characters hit the status of imaginary friends.

Uncontrollable Crying: No distinct upset required.

Poverty: Because one of your part-time jobs is actually your book.

Death.

5 comments

  1. Ashley

    I have broken elevator tourettes…

    “What’s your book about?”
    “Seal sex! Cannibalism! Bestiality! Mom!”

  2. Bonnie Waltch

    What about ennui? When you’ve been working on your book for so many years and you’re just so sick of it and trying to make it better that you don’t want to even look at it anymore!

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