Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Dealing with addictions while writing...

I'm sorry to say, this won't deal with those other addictions, like booze, cigarettes and secret medications. If that's your poison, may I suggest one of the many "Anonymous" groups and websites.

This is the serious addiction. I'm speaking about Eagle cams. If you've never tried one, take this warning to heart. They're very addictive -- you try it once, then maybe a second time when no one is looking. And before you know it, that's the first site you go to every morning, last thing at night, and any other time you're at your computer. And guess what? You're hooked! At this stage there's nothing to do but give in to your addiction. And enjoy it!

There are many Eagle cam sites, with even more cams across this continent and others. My two favourites are the Sydney, B.C. eagles and the Hornby Island (also, B.C.) eagles. I've been hooked for a couple of years now and start watching late winter when Ma & Pa Eagle return from their wintering food quests to their homes. They mate for life (wonder how they do that?) and always go back to the same nests.

You watch them doing the renos -- tossing out all twigs and moss, wedging new into the gaps. Both of them working side by side although it's often up to Ma to take over when their at the redecorating stage. Then she sits...and sits...and eventually lays her eggs. Three eggs in the Sydney nest this year; two at Hornby. Then she sits...and he sits...and she sits again for the gestation period which I think is about 3 weeks.

Then the magic starts as the eaglets start with a 'pip', a crack in the egg, then hatch to become 'bobbleheads'. Since the eggs are laid on different days, the hatchings are also staggered. Soon Ma & Pa are taking turns sitting on the young ones, flying off to shop for food, returning to feed the hungry gang.

You, oh addicted one, try to time your viewings to the feedings and before you know it, a few of months later the eaglets will be fledglings and learn to fly. Then comes the empty nest syndrome and the whole cycle begins again. And you, suffer from ENS as much as the parents, probably more because they just fly off and do their own thing, too.

It can be heart-breaking, as tragedy strikes in many forms and sometimes the young don't survive. But it's exhilarating and joyous, too.

The only problem with this addiction is trying to keep it under control while writing. You know, that manuscript with the deadline? That short story you need to submit? That proposal just itching to see the light of day? What has helped me is writing on a different computer from the one I use to surf the internet. And, they're in different rooms. So, write for a respectable amount of time or pages, then a treat -- tune in on an Eagle cam. And so it goes for most of the day. By the way, here are my two favourite sites (same cams but one has more options): and

Of course, you best not get trapped while looking at eagles, by those other addictions: email, Facebook & Twitter.

So, do you think we need another Twelve-Step program...or what?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
Mystery Book Club series
coming from Berkley Prime Crime, April, 2012

1 comment:

  1. I'm hopelessly addicted. I chew my nails at feeding time hoping the most recent chick will get a morsel of food in spite of big brother's head-pecking. You need nerves of steel.