Abelard to Heloise: “Against the disease of writing one must take special precautions, since it is a dangerous and contagious disease.”
This tragic couple wrote numerous letters to each other, one containing the above remark. Not going further into their ill-fated love affair, I’m using the quotation as applies to all writers. In the narrow sense of being contagious, I’m not sure it applies, since we can’t “catch” writing from being exposed to a writer. But in another sense most of us have been readers from an early age, so maybe we did “catch” it from the books we read and enjoyed which were written by already infected authors. Not a highly contagious because not all readers get infected.
A dangerous disease? Absolutely, since after catching it most writers remain infected for the rest of their lives. Those lucky enough to be published find that intensifies the disease severely. Many may even go to a heavenly reward with their cold, dead fingers still on the keyboard.
What‘s the reward for suffering most of our lives from this disease? Sometimes monetary rewards, but often merely walking-around money. We all do have the joy (and pain) of reviews. Plus the wonderful satisfaction of hearing from readers who tell us how much they enjoy reading what we write. A few of us may even become famous.
Famous or not, we cling to our disease and keep writing. We say we can’t help it, and of course we can’t-- we’re suffering from the disease of writing.