shorties · writing

I Quit Smoking: And Now My Writing Is Different

When I did smoke, I didn’t advertise it. To be honest, it was not something I was proud of. It’s what happens when I started working retail. I picked up a smoking habit to keep needy customers away from me. But I found that cigarette smoking, it made my writing different. Since I live in a climate where the weather will depend if I will write outside and I’m scared of bugs. I would stay indoors and write and write and write until I couldn’t any longer and I would go outside for a cigarette and try not to be spooked by the rustling bushes.

But here’s the problem. I would write and get into a groove and then it would stop. I would spend time flipping through my phone or writing a little bit from Google Docs on my phone. And then I have to spend the next hour, getting back into it.

So after almost ten years of smoking, I decided I’ve had enough and I quit. It was a sudden decision, without a lot of deep thought or preparation. I just decided enough’s enough and I was done with it.

So, here’s the big problem that I have now. The character I’m writing is a smoker, chain smoking, casual smoking, mentions a cigarette at least twice or three times a chapter. And I’m not triggered by it. I do most of my writing in the late hours of the night, and I’m far too lazy to drive to the connivence store to get my fix. But there are some things about smoking that I miss and tend to romanticize in my head. That cigarette after sex, the cigarette after an intense yoga session, or smoking in the bar while drinking.

But there was a plus side. I was worried that my writing would suffer. That I would have to alter my characters from smoking or have to rewrite the character completely or that I wouldn’t feel like writing at all.

Admittedly, I haven’t felt like writing for the first couple of days. It was mostly just anger, reading and trying not to break and buy that first pack while waiting in line at my local 711 with a bag of popcorn clutched in my fist. But it’s been a couple of weeks and I’m actually thrilled.

I’m writing more. I’m not losing my groove, I’m just constantly writing while I’m in the zone. In fact, I’ve written more in the past couple of days than what I used to write in a week. Maybe it’s a coincidence and I shouldn’t give my hopes up. But I’m happy not to be a slave to habit and I can get focused and work.

Now, if only I could figure out what to do about bathroom breaks.

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