Is Writing an Obsession?

I'm obsessed with writingI’ve been writing full time for five years and part-time for four and the more I write, the more obsessed I become. I suppose I could use the word passionate to describe how I feel about writing, but lately the word obsession seems more accurate.

And what are the clues that tell me I’ve tipped into the obsession zone? Consider these:

  • While trying to fall asleep, I compose sentences. Worse, I often get up to write them down so I won’t lose the creative thought.
  • While on the subway, in a plane, or at a restaurant, I takes notes about the features, gestures, clothing, or other attributes of the people I see. Sometimes I record what they say, a flirtation glance, an awkward moment.
  • I never go out without my small notebook, just in case inspiration strikes in the sounds, smells, tastes and sights around me.
  • I am jealous when I discover a beautifully crafted phrase in another author’s work. Such discoveries can easily undermine the confidence I may have been feeling about my own writing.
  • I look at the world around me in terms of my fictional characters. How would Grace react? What would Helene think? How would Edward feel?
  • I get distracted by a plotline that isn’t working or a flawed character arc or a chapter that doesn’t flow. Such distraction can strike at any time – while I’m driving, or out with friends, on the golf course, or watching TV.
  • I worry that a newly released book by another author will steal my intended audience, but in the next moment exult in the possibility that the very same book will help build an audience for my kind of writing.
  • I frequently realize that the house is dark except for the light at my desk where I have been writing for hours and hours. This realization is often accompanied by feelings of hunger because I’ve missed dinner.
  • I no longer read books without underlining interesting phrases or jotting ideas for one of my novels, a future story or blog post. I do this even when reading an e-book.
  • I can happily research for hours in order to compose one or two sentences.

Obsession – something that preoccupies a person to the exclusion of other things. Hmmm – sounds like obsession to me. Or is this how all writers behave?

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


Confessions of a Writaholic

A week or so ago, I wrote myself a note containing a single word: writaholic. At the time, I had been reflecting on how obsessed I’ve become about writing. The truth of the matter is that I could write every day for most of the day and enjoy almost every minute of it. Sometimes, in fact, I feel the words churning inside me, clamouring for release.

While out walking, I craft sentences to describe something I’ve seen. While driving I plot some twist or turn in my stories. While washing the dishes or gardening or standing in the shower, I think of changes required to further polish a chapter. When I’m not thinking or working directly on writing, I’m devising a new blog post or a way to gain further insights from the historical fiction survey I’ve recently completed or I’m musing on how to connect with others in the field of historical fiction or in the more general field of publishing. And on and on it goes.

I haven’t been writing that long – about four years now – and I wonder if it will always be this way or whether I will eventually settle into a less compulsive pattern. If you have any wisdom to share, I would be grateful.

Note: the photo was taken in Japan. The tiny twists of paper represent people’s wishes for good fortune.