Apr 08

G is for Graphomania vs. Graphophobia


Graphomania (a.k.a scribomania) is ‘a compulsive urge to write’. We’ve all been there – usually it’s at 3am when inspiration strikes and the compulsion isn’t strong enough to rouse up from sleepy-snoozy-time – but any other time than that it’s fantastic! Words surge from your fingertips like rainbows from a unicorn’s arse. Your hands are on fire…literally – maybe you should slow down just a tad. NO! Fire damage digits be damned! You HAVE to write – you’re a writer, that’s what you do. And you’ll be damned if you’re going to stop now. One novel, two novels, three novels…ah ah ah!

On the other hand, Graphophobia is the ‘fear or dislike of writing’ – and I think we’ve all been there too. Those nights where sweat pours off of you when you reach for pen or keyboard (and not just because you’re going to write something smutty). You panic, the bile rises, and you end up fleeing into the night in search of something else to do. Anything at all but writing.

Then you get the other, other hand – the weird freaky third hand that everyone likes to pretend they don’t have. You don’t have a third hand? No, me neither *wink*

Feeling an obsessive impulse to write while at the same time shitting bricks every time you pick up a pen can be perturbing to say the least. Not only is it confusing for your teeny tiny brain to figure out, it’s hurting your craft. A craft you could quite happily give up to avoid the pain and confusion if you didn’t suffer from damn scribomania *shakes fist at God of Writing*

So you HAVE to write and you CAN’T write all at the same time…the solution?


I know, I know, it sounds like a cop out answer. But let’s face it; you only have two choices anyway. You either do or do not, there is no try (Man I love Star Trek *ducks*)

You write, or you don’t write.

Now which sounds the scarier option to you?

You’re in a love-hate relationship with your work, but dammit it’s a relationship! And you have to work at that shit! Slap on some war paint, put on some romantic music, and scream-seduce the fuck out of your novel.


Hey, come here baby…


I’m gonna write you all night long…


Let me just stick my comma right there, ooh yeah, you like that, baby?



And so on…

Not Stephen King, the OTHER God of Writing (No, not Dean Koontz either).

†† Or don’t write, I don’t give a shit – I could do without the competition to be honest.


Hahaha! HA! HA! Haha...ha...ah? Aggh...agggghhh!!

Hahaha! HA! HA! Haha…ha…ah? Aggh…agggghhh!!


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  1. Liz Brownlee

    You dare to us a Star Trek quote? I like that. I have the mania at the minute. Don’t suppose you know of another challenge, next month, do you? Mania suits me, so does the challenge, so does the fear, so does the writing all day and night…

  2. Stephanie Faris

    I think this adequately captures the love-hate relationship we all have with our muse!

    1. Steven Chapman

      I think my muse sleeps around.

  3. Patricia Lynne (@plynne_writes)

    I’m currently struggling with the Graphophobia. Of course, the day job wasn’t helping (seriously, you would have thought the place was cursed.) Now that that drama is over *crosses fingers* I can turn my lack of writing around and start cranking out words.

    1. Steven Chapman

      There’s always another drama lurking around the corner, waiting to pounce on our precious writing time.

  4. Debbie

    I’ve had a dose of that graphomania caused by NaNoMania. The shortfall of 8k was driving me mad, but it enabled me to catch up over two days. Yay!

    1. Steven Chapman

      Nice work! Are you kicking Camp’s arse as well (or was this comment about camp?).

      1. Debbie

        Kicking mine probably. Having a goal with a tight deadline can promote mania and phobia. Maybe there’s a Jeykll and Hyde element. The writing has got to get out somehow.

        1. Steven Chapman

          Maybe we need that balance…one then the other to keep the mood changing and keep us on our toes – too much of one or the other and we get complacent.

  5. Kyra Lennon

    It’s weird, but I only get struck with Graphophobia at the end of a novel I’m writing. I’m cool right until I get to the last couple of chapters, then suddenly, everything sucks and I don’t want to finish! Of course, you’re right. The only way through is to keep on writing!

    1. Steven Chapman

      I have the dreaded fear of endings…*gulp*

  6. theocdsquirrel

    I like Stephen King

    1. Steven Chapman

      You’re like Silent Bob, you don’t say much but when you do it’s like Zeus jizzing honey into my earholes.

  7. susan

    aw damn you’re not posted yet and I was looking forward to it

    1. Steven Chapman

      No pressure…*gulp*

  8. Julianne Snow (@CdnZmbiRytr)

    I seem to only suffer from Graphomania – I wonder if that’s a good thing??

  9. Steven Chapman

    Only for the people that have to put up with you!

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