How to: Attempt Life while Dealing with Obsessions and Distractions

A writer once told me, that in order to write well, the writer must be a little bit obsessed with what he’s writing about. I didn’t give that statement much credit until I started writing. I found it hard to write my first novel from all the scattered notes in my brain. It didn’t draw me in. I felt no desire to hammer it out into a novel. Later on, however, I started to smooth out the story in my head, and little by little, I became more obsessed with it.

That is why I tend to pour myself into one novel at a time. I don’t want to stop mid-draft. I want to revise the entire thing at once.

I wrote the rough draft of Caroline Eversole and the Gilded Gauntlet in about a week. I was obsessed with it. I revised that draft in about two weeks. It’s all I thought about. I admit; I’ve never been as obsessed with a WIP. It was different, it was exciting, it had all the hallmarks of a great story that I’d love to read, and I couldn’t stop.

Now, when it came to the second and third revisions, I slowed down. I knew the story, but it was time to spend time to line-edit and add style and clarity.

Have you ever been kept up at night by a good book? Or had to stop reading for some cause or another, and you can’t stop thinking about what’s going to happen next? It’s that feeling after you watch the newest episode of your favorite show. You need to know more. You need the trailer for the next episode. You need it. You inner fan-girl demands it!

But, here’s the PSA part: how do you balance these distractions and obsessions with real life?

I’d love to stay home all day and read and write and keep the dishes done and laundry from mounting higher than my head, but, alas, I can’t. I need a day job to pay bills and keep myself out of poverty such that would make reading or writing harder. At work, I’ll daydream about a scene I’m thinking of writing, or a scene from a show or movie that I loved and want to recreate. I’ll sometimes daydream and push off actual work…don’t tell my boss. But, I realize that real life is a priority. I can’t shove off work all the time – I get things done.

It’s a balancing act. I balance work and play; day job and moonlight writer; chocolate and vegetables. Just like fiction is a balance of grammatical structure, plot and prose, narration and character, life is a balance of real life and the moonlight life. It’s hard to do, sometimes, and I’ve fallen off the bandwagon a few times and stayed home all weekend binge-watching and playing a video game until my controller dies. I find that it’s a therapy of its own, as long as that’s not the only thing you do with your life.

*Writing is also a nice way to get the obsession out of your mind.

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