The cliche is that we're all drunks, often this is propagated by us so we sound like we belong with the greats -- Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dylan Thomas -- who came before us.
But as a teetotaler, I can tell you that this writer (and I know I'm not alone) has an addiction that is just as in need of recovery: the byline.
I was ashamed to admit it until I read a piece by Anna David, a noted writer about sex and dating, where she admited that she was going to stop writing on those topics because she realized she was so addicted to seeing her name in print that she'd started dating/sleeping with guys just for the post-date essay.
I started writing essays because I simply liked writing essays. Than my novel was published and everyone (other published authors and some book marketing people -- that's "everyone" in my world) told me that without a marketing budget/PR person, writing articles where my bio cred would mention the book was a great promo device.
An addiction was born. The more essays I sold, the more buzz my book would get. I knew I had a problem when I was published in the NYTimes and cringed as I read the piece. WTF was I talking about and why did they print this? I wrote a "10 Reasons" piece for a local newspaper about football because it was topical and I thought kind of funny. My husband peered over his reading glasses and sighed, "This is beneath you."
My latest endeavor, a piece (http://www.xojane.com/family-drama/gambling-father) that really means something to me, one that my former writing teacher/mentor says is my best ever and thinks I should expand into a memoir, gets published and the site not only does not list my last name but no bio credit. I feel like I'm being punished for the times I wrote crap and got paid for it.
Can you say, "wake up call"?
Causes Lorraine Merkl Supports
The Legal Aid Society
The Inner-City Scholarship Fund