Writers in my experience have a tendance towards the obsessive end of the spectrum. We obsess about our stories. We obsess about our characters. We obsess about individual sentences. On occasion, we obsess about an individual word… Sometimes we obsess about where to put a comma. Often in my case…

Patrick Rothfuss, for example, explains why it takes him so long to finish writing a book, (and as a fan of his work, impatiently waiting for book three of the Kingkiller Chronicles, believe me when I use the words ‘so long’)  because he obsesses about the minutiae of sentences and getting them exactly perfect. It has nothing to do with everything else he has going on in his life, all the Comicon’s and Dragoncon’s he attends, all the amazing charity work his modicum of fame has allowed him to do, or fatherhood and all its time-consuming all-encompassing labours. it’s just down to his obsessive desire to find the perfect sentence, with each and every sentence, or in his case every single fragment. Patrick may be an extreme example, be he is far from alone in his obsessive nature, as I said, all writers are in my experience, obsessives.

It is not, I am of the opinion, because we are writers than we are excessive in our obsessional natures. I believe you need a touch of the obsessive about you to be a writer in the first place. For it is obsession, (and rum quite often) that drives the desire to write a story, at least, if your chosen passion is the writing of novels. You need to find that sense of completion, of telling the whole tale, of following your characters journeys, to the bitter end. Even when, as often happens, your characters start ignoring the stage directions and wandering off on their own merry oblivious way.

“Oh you had a plot did you, well fair enough but I just want to look over here for a minute first…”

I am aware this may just be me, and I might just be projecting my own flaws on others. But a certain level of clinical obsessive-compulsive disorder is required if you’re going to be a novelist, and if you are said novelist it is highly likely your obsessive nature also enters other aspects of your life. To be blunt, I do not just obsess about my writing, I obsess about everything I do, and sometimes I forget I do this and I find I have slipped down into a dark cave of obsession and forgotten to come up to breath. This, it has to be said, is not always good for my health, mental or for that matter physical…

In my time I have become obsessed with many things. I almost always binge watch TV shows, as if they hook me in I run to the obsessive about watching them, but even something like 7 seasons of the West Wing is a manageable obsession, as tv shows always have an endpoint, even if its only till the next series is out… Fall Out 4 was another recent obsession. Video games as a whole tend to drive my compulsive obsessive side when I play them, I want to explore everything, do everything and see everything. So I will run through once, then do so again with a new character, making new choices. Or I will play Civilisation and play every playable nation, every different approach. But these too have an endpoint. Just like a novel, they have a conclusion to get to. A point the obsession can end and you can move on… Not all things have natural endpoints to them, points when you have done everything, filled in every square, completed every quest, finally pout the comma in the right place…

Obsession and depression are very similar words for a reason, they have much in common and overlap each other. Obsession can lead to depression if you are not watchful. Pouring too much of yourself into any one thing is a dangerous course to follow. Particularly if you let it take too much of a hold, and let obsession drive you. Some obsessions are worse than others in this regard.

This post then is a note to myself, to remind myself of my own nature. I have started playing World of Warcraft again, a game that you can never finish, that has no end point, and that is vast in its own complexity. I have played it before, I both love and by equal measure obsess about the game.

So this is a note to myself, to remind me to step away from the keyboard and leave Azeroth behind regularly, and not let obsession become my master. I have novels to write and many other things to obsess about… Now just one more quest…


This entry was posted in depression, humour, opinion, pointless things of wonderfulness, rant, sci-fi, warcraft, wow and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Obsessions…

  1. Pingback: The Writers Imperative… | The Passing Place

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