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The OCD Writer, Revisited

Cheryl's Musings: The OCD Writer, Revisited

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


The OCD Writer, Revisited

I’ve written before about the ease with which a writer can drift into obsessive-compulsive behavior. And I have to admit: I’ve succumbed.

Unlike earlier bouts of obsession, when I fought the evil temptations of compulsive email checking (Did anyone respond to my submission yet? How about now? Or now?) and mailbox haunting, I like to think that my current state of…ahem…hyperfocus has been not entirely a bad thing. Maybe even a little bit of a good thing, because I’ve been obsessed with WRITING.

I’ve been rewriting this YA paranormal since last July. I’m usually a speedy writer, especially after I’ve cranked out a first draft, so it’s been especially difficult to take six pickin’ months on a rewrite—and especially wonderful when, a few weeks ago, everything started to fall together. By last Friday, I was so close to the end I could taste it. Seriously. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to crank out two chapters before I had to head to an all-day meeting.

Obsessive? Okay, maybe a little.

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On Saturday, I finished. My husband and first reader cranked through 300 pages of manuscript to give me feedback, inspired, no doubt, by the hope that I would stop asking if he liked it. And yesterday, I began making all the tweaks inspired by our discussion. And I’m having trouble stopping. I want to finish, and I’m so close, so excited to be so close, that I can hardly stand to put my manuscript down!

Obsessive writing: it’s not sustainable over the long run, but sometimes, you just have to go with your instincts, and my instincts say WRITE!

Happy writing, friends! May you all be bitten with the bug and suffer a bit of writerly OCD this week!

:) Cheryl

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At January 15, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Blogger Patrick said...

Cheryl, you're definitely on to something here. I experience a bit of this at times, although I compare it a bit to mania rather than OCD. I've been in a creative writing flow since Dec. 24, writing and revising three major projects and blowing off the "boring" stuff. I even awaken at night sometimes full of ideas, and have to go write. That's common for many creatives but a bit unusual for me.

When I'm in one of these flows, I run with it, but try to remember that my body has limits, and that I have obligations both professional and personal, so I have to at times step away and attend to those things.

Good luck!

Patrick Ross

At January 15, 2011 at 10:02 AM , Blogger Eeleen Lee said...

I think we're all manic in our individual ways
great post!

At January 18, 2011 at 7:57 AM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Hi Patrick: Mania is probably the better term, and I think you're right--running with it is the best option, as long as it doesn't interfere with other obligations and priorities. For instance, I have no problem shorting the dogs a walk, but my kids still trump writing if they need me. Fortunately, I have a family that helps me get writing time!

Congrats on your creative writing flow! Feels great, doesn't it? I hope it continues :)


At January 18, 2011 at 7:57 AM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Hi Eeleen--thank you! Glad to know I'm not alone :)


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