You can spot them fairly easily. Graphomaniacs. Perhaps it’s a bit closer to the surface when you work in publishing, but the person who writes too much can run risks. Some authors turn out a book every few months. While this may be okay for potboilers, for academics it is seldom possible to do this well. Research and reflection take a long time. Those who churn out book after book sometimes wonder why their works don’t sell. Graphomania has to be reined in. Horses have to be held. I’m sympathetic, actually. If you write every single day you’ll soon end up with a surplus. So much so that your computer will tell you to empty some stuff out or it’ll go on strike. I had to order a new terabyte drive this week exactly for that reason.
To free up some additional space on my laptop I went through the many, many folders that have essays, book drafts (both nonfiction and novels), stories, blog posts, etc. While I didn’t throw them away, I had to clear them off my working disc. As I did so I realized that the great majority of these writings will never see the light of day. There are really a lot of them. Part of the problem is you never know what you’ll feel like writing when you get up in the morning. Sometimes the best ideas come after a wretched night’s tossing and turning. Well-rested you can get up to a brain so content that it doesn’t have much to say. Or that story you started yesterday may seem dumb today. That nonfiction book that burned with passion just last week may now seem lame. My fear is that by moving them off my hard disc they’ll become forgotten.
The terabyte drive is a thing of wonder. It can hold so much information. I have to go back and hook it up to my laptop to find it, however. Out of sight, out of mind. I’ll move on to other things. I honestly can’t count the number of projects I have going. Graphomania can be a problem. This blog is a daily outlet, and you, my faithful few readers, are saints for coming back. In my attic, next to the brick wall of external hard drives, are folders full of handwritten material. Many of them are stories that are complete, but that haven’t been transcribed. Some writers suggest flooding the market with your stuff. Others of us know that graphomaniacs are feared in some quarters, and so we keep our own counsel.