How Obsessive Are You? The Reward of the Relentless Pursuit

Oh, look! Kristen must have shopped here.Image via Flikr Creative commons, courtesy of Ryan Leighty.

Oh, look! Kristen must have shopped here.
Image via Flikr Creative commons, courtesy of Ryan Leighty.

Being a successful writer is a lot like being a successful anything. One must, of course, at least possess some talent. But, talent alone isn’t enough. Talent is like a vein of gold buried deep in a mountain of granite. Unless someone works really hard, the gold is worthless. Someone needs to put in the sweat equity to mine that gold, refine it, and transform it into something the world finds valuable.

Character is important, because character is what makes us get up earlier or stay up later than the next guy. Character is what will help us focus, what allows us to be teachable, and what presses us to finish what we start.

But, yesterday, I did a bit more thinking about what component truly stands out when it comes to being a successful author. The word that came to me is obsession.

It came to me after my third run through a Gears of War 4 (video game) level, where I kept earning two and a half stars. A HALF star? What IS THAT? WHO AWARDS HALF A FREAKING STAR?

Anyway…

I don’t know about you guys, but my absolute FAVORITE show in the universe is The Big Bang Theory, and Sheldon (an OCD/likely autistic physicist) is my favorite character. I find myself laughing and yelling, That is SO me!  

From rearranging the couch cushions to the “right” order, to always walking the same route when I go to the park, I have this weird tendency to need and follow patterns in life.

Me watching Hubby load the dishwasher.

Me watching Hubby load the dishwasher.

I begin my days exactly the same way every morning, and, if events push me out of this routine, I get a tad twitchy. It’s also why I hate going grocery shopping with my husband. He shops in the wrong order. 

NO! You can’t start shopping on THAT side of the store! Are you mad? Who starts shopping in the bakery?

Communist.

You can't start in the bakery. Who starts shopping in the BAKERY?

You can’t start in the bakery. Who starts shopping in the BAKERY?

This past weekend was, of course, Easter, but was also our wedding anniversary. To celebrate? Non-stop Gears of War 4 marathon.

I have to be careful with video games. I can’t stop until the game is “finished,” and even then, I only finished on Normal Level. Now we need to beat the game (finish) on Hardcore and Insane. Oh, and there are still clues out there we haven’t found. And, have I mentioned that, on most levels, we only earned one or two stars? They don’t match. They all need to be THREE stars.

Okay, at least all be two stars. Make them match.

At the gym, the Stair Monster is trying to kill me. If I set it to do a 25 minute workout, I will make it 51 floors. FIFTY-ONE? No, needs to be at least 55…but then it’s a 27 minute workout. Crap. Okay, we’ll go to 30 minutes make it even-Stephen. 64 floors? ACK, Okay, just to 65 floors…31 minutes? So 60 minutes later and 121 FLOORS….

STOP ME BEFORE I KILL MYSELF!

While my obsessive nature isn’t anything that requires therapy or medication (yet) I do think it’s a quality that helps me do what I do.

When we create characters in a novel, we must remember that their best quality always has a dark side. The loyal, tender-hearted protagonist, can also be a naive fool easily taken advantage of. The hard-driven Type A is a great leader and achiever, but often tramples over the feelings of others.

All of us have a dark side. Our greatest strengths are often our greatest weaknesses.

My dark side is I can (if unchecked) be controlling, OCD, and obsessive. I frequently find myself worn out from doing all the housework, because, well…YOU CAN’T FOLD TOWELS THAT WAY! WHO FOLDS TOWELS THAT WAY? WERE YOU RAISED BY WOLVES?

I’ve had to learn to trust others, delegate, let go of having things my way, and just focus on my responsibilities. Appreciate that others can do things differently and that’s okay.

*left eye twitches*

Really, it is. I’ll be fine.

Being obsessive is a good thing, but the dark side of being obsessive manifests as manipulating, bullying and controlling others. I would love to say I have never been guilty of any of that *whistles innocently* but, what can I say? I’m a recovering “first/older sibling.” I’m working on it.

Yet, when I think about what’s really helped me persevere as a writer, I know I have my obsessive nature to thank. Ten years ago, when I was skewered in my first critique, I worked tirelessly until my work was so good, no one had anything but praise. If I didn’t understand something, I didn’t read a book on the topic, I read all books on the topic.

We won’t even mention my scrapbooking phase.

Obsession is part of why I blog. I heard about the 10,000 hour rule (the magic mark that separates the master from the apprentice) and I’m all about efficiency. Become a better, cleaner, faster writer and hit 10,000 hours sooner.

I think all of us require the fire of obsession to do well in this business (any business). We just need to remember three key things:

1. The world does not reward perfection; it rewards finishers.

2. Learn to delegate. Let your family be part of your success. Let your husband fold the clothes, you can refold them later keep writing.

3.  The numbers on the Stair Master WILL NEVER BE EVEN AT THE SAME TIME. I’ve tried. Ellipticals and treadmills have also been infiltrated. I think Al Qaeda is behind the calorie counter.

For those who want a laugh, there is a small dose of Sheldon in this clip. I apologize ahead of time that it is only 1:29 minutes. REALLY, PEOPLE?:

What you do think? Are Stair Masters evil? Are you a bit obsessive? What are your obsessions? Could you see a little (or a lot) of yourself in Sheldon? Do you have to be careful with your obsessive nature? Do you drive your family nuts with your obsessive tendencies? What do you do to keep the obsession channeled to your writing?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of April I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

Note: Due to Easter holiday/anniversary…okay video game marathon, I will be choosing March’s winner later in the week, so stay tuned.

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  1. #1 by hcfbutton on April 1, 2013 - 8:43 am

    I am a bit obsessive. DVDs and CDs have to be organized according to my alphabetical rules. Easier with DVDs, not so much with CDs. Though, one day, my precious CD towers, with almost 400 CDs came crashing to the ground at 11:30 at night. I got out of bed, looked around and went back to sleep. The next morning I put them away out of order. Whoa! They stayed that way for a whole week until someone asked to borrow one. Then, I put them in order again, enjoying every moment. I consider that 1 week to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I colour code everything. I make suggestions to people, and I think they assume it means that they should do what I say, but I really don’t expect them to do it. So I remain in control of myself, not of everyone else. But that helped me get my Masters Degree in Architecture. It helped me get through 7 professional exams without failing. It’s helping me log my hours to get licensed (soon!) and, I know that obsession will help me create the best stories I can possibly create. A little obsession is good. But so is a little (or a lot) of letting go.

  2. #2 by Christine Adler on April 1, 2013 - 8:44 am

    HAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I LOVED this post! I smiled and laughed all the way through it. I adore Sheldon and Big Bang Theory, I totally get the obsessive thing, and am once again glad to see I’m not alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you! :D

  3. #3 by julipagemorgan on April 1, 2013 - 8:52 am

    I am totally with you on the grocery shopping! When I make my list, I have to go back and rearrange it so that the items are listed in order of my journey through the store. I tell my husband this is so I don’t have to go back to an aisle I’ve already been down to get something I missed, but it’s really so I can draw nice lines through the words in order. He pretends to believe me. And the towels? He finally gave up and now folds them the way they’re meant to be folded. (Although sometimes he leaves the hems hanging out and I have to go back and fix them.) You’d think I’d be a total plotter when it comes to writing, but no; I’m a pantser. And I’m kind of obsessive about that, too!

  4. #4 by Alice Abel Kemp on April 1, 2013 - 8:54 am

    The Big Bang is my FAV, too. Great post and you can look at my house and realize I’m not obsessive about anything. The trick, I think, is to have three children and get divorced. Single moms cannot survive without developing a large tolerance for messes. So with dust bunnies all over, clutter abounding, and stacks of papers about fall over on my desk, I’m going to be writing this morning. Thanks for brightening my morning.

  5. #5 by Karen on April 1, 2013 - 8:54 am

    Love this blog. Love Big Bang Theory. Love Sheldon Cooper. Love my little obsessions. Used to think my husband was the only one with OCD in my family, until he pointed out that my OCD is related to grammar and language use, which he demonstrated by using the term ‘very unique’ and making my brain bleed. Thanks for getting my week off to a great start.

  6. #6 by Dennis Langley on April 1, 2013 - 8:59 am

    :-) First, I thought you were talking about the CEO of my domicile. She does allow me to assist with vacuuming and ironing but never, folding clothes or dusting. She can walk into a room and spot the one nick-knack that is 1/8 of an inch out of place.

    However, OCD is available in both flavors. I wear particular clothes on specific days. I clean as I cook. and I am becoming increasingly protective of my writing time. The CEO gave me a room to myself just to keep separation between life and writing.

  7. #7 by David Erickson on April 1, 2013 - 9:02 am

    You touched on so many behaviors that I’m sure most of us share. Like following a pattern. We are all creatures of habit and because of that we can keep doing the wrong things over and over and not realize we’re in a rut. Breaking routine is extremely difficult, which is the primary factor behind addiction. My dogs have carved paths across the lawn and I see that as a reflection of people in general.

    The point you were making about the two sides of every character is one I’ve slowly been coming to grips with. While I want to tongue lash my family for being Rush Limbaugh dittoheads I was well behaved this Easter. I’m proud of myself for not creating a heated moment, but I have to admit I couldn’t help but throw one thing out there. In my defense, it was something some of them share.

    Yes, exposing both the dark and lighter aspects of the character’s personality will enrich the character and the story. Remembering to do thyat is the hard part -:)

  8. #8 by tarak1105 on April 1, 2013 - 9:12 am

    Reblogged this on Tara Kingston and commented:
    Interesting!

  9. #9 by LauraDrake on April 1, 2013 - 9:16 am

    Kristen, I am proof that obsession (I call it dedication, to make me feel more normal) is more important than talent in writing. Honestly – if you’re a lifelong reader, you understand pacing, storytelling, and voice subliminally.

    Then, all it takes is time. You’re not going to quit because of your strongest talent – obsession. So you learn what you subliminally knew already, through writing, you learn to get it on the page.

    Talent is overrated. So is letting others helps you.

    Hey, there’s pros and cons to everything, right? I’ll take the cons, and keep cranking out books.
    How ’bout you?

  10. #10 by genacourtney on April 1, 2013 - 9:17 am

    Timely advice. I agree.

  11. #11 by Irma on April 1, 2013 - 9:22 am

    The one thing I’m obsessive about is watching The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon is my absolute favorite character. While I do make out a grocery list in the order that the items I want to buy are arranged in the grocery store, nine times out of ten I’ll leave the list at home. I should get obsessive about my WIPs and one day I will. I just need to remember that OCD is what got me through nursing school all those years ago. That was the only way to make it through a nonstop curriculum, keep house, two jobs and care for my young son. I need to get a little of that drive back.

  12. #12 by Krista on April 1, 2013 - 9:24 am

    Wow! Great post! I can only relate to obsession as far as my writing and going to the gym. Two absolute musts! You were on the Stair Monster for an hour? Ouch! Have you tried skipping a stair while on level 8? Beware!

  13. #13 by J.M. Powers (Jeannie) on April 1, 2013 - 9:25 am

    I think my name is Sheldon. Really. I’m not kidding. *Grin* Okay, so I am, I love Big Bang Theory, and like you, Sheldon is my favorite character. In my writing, I am much like him. Relentless. I forget to eat, sleep, and realize that there is another world going on around me. But that is what makes my stories REAL. How can I expect my readers to feel what the character is going through, to smell the scents, to get lost in the story, if I don’t get lost in it myself?

    And really, who the heck starts shopping in the bakery? Sheesh!

    Loved the post, Kristin!

  14. #14 by TLJeffcoat on April 1, 2013 - 9:29 am

    I’m not obsessive at all. Even if I’m just at the store to get milk or eggs. I must walk through the bakery (the only reasonable place to start). I judge a store by it’s baked goods. That’s not obsessive at all… right?

  15. #15 by Ilene on April 1, 2013 - 9:34 am

    Does having to clean my kitchen floor on my hands and knees every night count me as obsessive? Or check three times that I’ve shut off the flat iron when I use it? Or revise blog posts that I wrote a year ago because I woke up today with a better last sentence? If so, I am glad to be in that club with you for sure. And I love what you say about hitting 10,000 hours sooner.

    I’m sure your husband is a wonderful man but who on earth starts their shopping in the bakery? Happy anniversary!

  16. #16 by tkmorin on April 1, 2013 - 9:39 am

    Oh, boy, can I ever relate! Another chore that my family don’t seem able to get right is loading the dishwasher! I don’t understand why it is such a difficult process to learn. I often re-organize the dishes before I turn it on. My writing? I have to have everything around me when I write. Even paper and pen as well as the laptop … Sometimes it just flows better when I write it down on paper, sometimes it feels better to type it and see its perfect words on a screen (as opposed to my ever changing handwriting).
    Great post! Thank you again for the “life of a writer” type of posts you do! :)

  17. #17 by Dawn Chartier on April 1, 2013 - 9:46 am

    Hmm. This is soooo my husband – not me. :-) However, I’m not giving up writing, so maybe that counts for something…

  18. #18 by Rebecca T. Little on April 1, 2013 - 9:48 am

    Were we separated at birth? The bit about refolding the towels later is SO me! I’ve learned to cope with my hubby’s non-ocd ways, but it certainly isn’t easy. Sympathy for the bakery-first shopping LOL

  19. #19 by katemsparkes on April 1, 2013 - 9:59 am

    “The numbers on the Stair Master WILL NEVER BE EVEN AT THE SAME TIME. I’ve tried. Ellipticals and treadmills have also been infiltrated. I think Al Qaeda is behind the calorie counter.”

    This explains so much…

    Do you feel uncomfortable when other people’s towels are folded wrong, or is it just a problem when your husband does it? Do you ever want to re-load other people’s dishwashers? My obsessive tendencies (which are milder than they used to be) have never extended to housework, but I’ve often felt compelled to correct grammar and punctuation on signs and menus, or to reorganize bookshelves that are out of order.

  20. #20 by gretchenwing on April 1, 2013 - 10:01 am

    Hah!!!! Yup. Totally. Clearing and washing the dishes together has brought my husband and me so close to divorce that, guess what–it’s all his to do now! So, hey…maybe this obsessive thing works for me after all.

  21. #21 by ShawnM on April 1, 2013 - 10:08 am

    ummmmm to me, the Bakery is the store, and everything else is worthless. That, and I can’t shop unless I’m hungry and the smells of the bakery do it for me.

  22. #22 by Ellen M. Gregg on April 1, 2013 - 10:09 am

    I’ve never seen Big Ban Theory (I know1), but oh, can I relate. I have a thing with numbers. they don’t have to be even or odd, but I prefer they represent something; add up to a certain number, or look a certain way. Also, woe to the person who puts the forks and spoons handle up in the drainer. Woe, I tell you! ;-)

  23. #23 by Shea Ford on April 1, 2013 - 10:22 am

    Since I’ve been married, I’ve learned to give up on the ordering of the DVDs and books (why the books? He doesn’t even read them!), but I can’t let go of the laundry or dishes. I’ll even let him repaint a room. I’ve learned to never look at the paint drips on the baseboards and missed spots in the corners… lol

  24. #24 by Kira Lyn Blue on April 1, 2013 - 10:25 am

    I’m kind of bipolar about my OCD. Some days I want complete and utter chaos (or more likely just don’t care) and others I have to map out in details my plans for the day. When I grocery shop, I order my list by aisle for the specific store I’m shopping at and proceed in the most direct route through the store, scowling all the way at people who park their carts in the middle of the aisle… GAH! Don’t people know traffic rules apply to grocery carts and aisles?

    There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what I’m obsessive about and what I’m not. I can’t explain it and won’t try.

  25. #25 by cicampbell2013 on April 1, 2013 - 10:34 am

    LOVE this post! I have ‘slight’ OCD tendencies sometimes, but my son-in-law has Aspergers and his son, my grandson, has Aspergers and IS Sheldon, I’m sure! So much of this post rang home. Sometimes I wish I was more like that…more organised. I’m sure I’d get lots more done.
    Christine

  26. #26 by MonaKarel on April 1, 2013 - 10:37 am

    My biggest issue is balancing obsessions since I can’t obsess this week about taking care of the animals and next week about writing. Animals need care every day, writing needs attention every day. The house can stay messy a while longer and if the dishes sit in water for too long, a bit of vinegar gets rid of the slime

  27. #27 by Melissa Lewicki on April 1, 2013 - 10:44 am

    I read about a man who was trying to overcome his perfectionism. He met with an instructor who was going to help him. The perfectionist got very excited about the program the instructor planned for him. He said, “I’m going to be the best non-perfectionist you have ever seen!” Sound familiar?

  28. #28 by jambulee on April 1, 2013 - 10:48 am

    Reblogged this on God is not a bully and commented:
    Well, well, well,,,,,,,,,,,,,,well

  29. #29 by Ruth Ann Nordin on April 1, 2013 - 10:52 am

    No one should start in the bakery. Ever. LOL

  30. #30 by Dave on April 1, 2013 - 11:11 am

    I’m no stranger to hard work. I’ve also heard of the 10,000 hours rule. Does drawing comic books as a kid count in those 10,000 hours for my writing skills. I used some pretty cool words back then like BLAM for explosions and RATATATAT when someone was shooting a machine gun.

  31. #31 by MTM on April 1, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    Cracking post, I love the Big Bang Theory so I really get it and as creatives in two completely different fields McOther and I are both anal about our own particular sphere of things.

    That said, I think that nobody could possibly write a book unless they were a bit well… you know… tapped. Writing is not always relaxing and pleasant for me. It’s something I have to do. If I don’t do it, I get grumpy, it is more than a hobby, or a job, it’s an addiction, a compulsion. My blog is not called authorholic for nothing!

    Cheers

    MTM

  32. #32 by Coleen Burright on April 1, 2013 - 12:47 pm

    Awesome post! My video game obsession is Assassin’s Creed–I get absolutely nothing done for about a month when the new chapter comes out every year–even writing takes a back seat. I have curbed my fanatical self, however, by not completing every…last…one of the missions. Gotta have some self-control.

  33. #33 by tomwisk on April 1, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    Funny, funny, funny. Sheldon is my favorite character on BBT. Self-awareness isn’t his strong suit neither is the existence of others other than a means to an end.

  34. #34 by Kay Kauffman on April 1, 2013 - 1:20 pm

    I laughed and laughed as I read this entry because you described me to a T, especially the bit about laundry folding. I’m terrible at delegating, I rely on routines to get me through my day (I function on autopilot and caffeine), and I am terribly OCD about the way in which my bed is made. I mean, it’s not crazy to want them all to be even at the top, right? Evenness is a good thing! :)

    That said, I recognized my protagonist, my antagonist, myself, and a couple of my kids in your post. Are you sure you haven’t been spying on us and using us for blog fodder? I mean, we would make for a good soap opera… Just curious. :D

  35. #35 by Wendy Dewar Hughes on April 1, 2013 - 1:29 pm

    Not to go all serious here but it seems to me that obsessiveness is about being unforgiving. Obsessive people have a hard time forgiving themselves for anything short of their notion of perfection and they are usually just as hard on others. So if this describes you, lighten up. You’re probably not easy to live with. (Yeah, definitely based on personal experience.) :-)

  36. #36 by Brenda Harris on April 1, 2013 - 1:33 pm

    I don’t think I’m obsessive, but then I make myself sick with worrying about what others may think. So, I obsess about doing things the American way. I’ve heard most creative people have an issue or two to deal with. So, I feel right at home as a writer/illustrator in this community.

  37. #37 by Jami Gray on April 1, 2013 - 1:45 pm

    OMG, Kristen! You have so nailed it! Nice to know I’m not the only borderline psychotic OCD writer out there. I have two series I’m working on and I’ve run into the, “No, you can NOT start that story until the other one is done. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?” Plus, I’m surrounded by testosterone so nothing is ever folded correctly, put away where it belongs and I know “MAID” is tattooed across my forehead. Thank you for this. It was just what I needed to read on a Monday when cruising through my “blog check” time slot.

  38. #38 by Jackie Vick on April 1, 2013 - 1:48 pm

    Perfect. I couldn’t stop laughing, because I sooooo related.

  39. #39 by Kris Lynn on April 1, 2013 - 2:00 pm

    In my family I must hide ANY OCD tendencies – It is NOT a DISORDER, by the way. Exhibiting any need to have, say, the table set with the fork on the left, or the toilet seat AND cover down after use, or the toilet paper roll feeding from the top and not the bottom of the roll (just deplorable) or even making sure the dogs’ bowls are put in order – big shepherd dog on the left and graduating down to toy Pomeranian on the right, leaves me open to immediate derision, then a pat on the head like “We know you can’t help it mom.”

    These important tasks, these efforts I make to keep the universe straightened up and in order – I must do after my son sets the table and after my red-neck family members leave the bathroom, and I don’t even let anyone feed the dogs. Its just too confusing for them!

    Really, it’s all too wearying :-) but I’m happy to know there are others who care about the really important things( that left undone and un-organized could just set off an early pole-shift or a wobble in the earth’s tilt that could very possibly lead to untold extinctions on earth just to name a few) and strive to do something about them!

    And thanks so much for the mining metaphor. It’s a relief to know that I just have to keep excavating, digging up the right words for as long as it takes to strike the right vein of writer’s gold. But, I do hope it doesn’t take too long!

  40. #40 by renée a. schuls-jacobson on April 1, 2013 - 2:04 pm

    You KNOW I used to be a professional organizer. But at least I was using my powers for good and not evil. I’ve been using my knowledge of my obaessive traits to help my protagonist and my antagonist. And MAN, can my protagonist fold towels!

  41. #41 by tedhenkle on April 1, 2013 - 2:09 pm

    Kristen, I can certainly relate to your firstborn/birthorder issue. I’m the oldest of 5. I tell everyone that growing up with my siblings was like “Abbott and Costello Meet the Three Stooges.” I’ve gotten hooked on BBT too. Although, here’s where we part company: My favorite male character is Raj, (probably because I use to be very shy around girls/women when I was a teen).

  42. #42 by Melanie Marttila on April 1, 2013 - 2:31 pm

    I think everyone has a little something obsessive-compulsive in their personality. Going back three times to make sure the stove is off (though you know you didn’t turn it on) or check that you locked the door. Walking on the sidewalk so that you are not only avoiding cracks, but using exactly two paces per slab. I do stuff like that, but not all the time. My husband too, does things like this.
    I had a roommate in university who was OCD and living with her really set me straight about what true OCD is. I have my own issues (depression) and my girl helped me out with that. My little eccentricities may have their source in my particular disease but they’re more a side effect than anything else. Actually writing a series about it on my blog if you’re curious.
    Thanks for sharing with such wit and humour.

  43. #43 by Julie Glover on April 1, 2013 - 2:46 pm

    Oh, I laughed! I can so relate. Whenever my car reaches 00 as the last numbers on the odometer, I’m tempted to just park and enjoy the symmetry for a while. Is that weird?

  44. #44 by Val Mills on April 1, 2013 - 2:55 pm

    LOL, I’m more of a better to finish than to be perfect person. A distant relative once said to me, early in our married years, ‘I do admire you, that you don’t worry about what your house looks like!’ Ouch.

  45. #45 by Jami Gold on April 1, 2013 - 4:21 pm

    In some areas–writing–I’m still this obsessive. Like you said, when we discover a problem in our writing, we don’t just read A book about it. We read ALL THE BOOKS!!! about it. :)

    But in other areas of my life (um, house cleanliness?), I’ve learned to embrace the “lazy.” No one who knows me and my day-to-day work load would ever call me lazy, but that’s my joking way of deciding to let some things go. :)

  46. #46 by cicampbell2013 on April 1, 2013 - 4:22 pm

    Ouch! is right, Val. I’ve had that kind of backhanded compliment too…usually from my OCD daughter-in-law!

  47. #47 by Rachel Thompson on April 1, 2013 - 4:40 pm

    Obsessions are bad internally and in external life. Dedicated, focused, hard work is not an obsession, its a decision. like Yoda said, ” Do or do not , there is no try.” If you want to write for fun, have at it. If you want to get published act like you’re obsessed but don’t fall into that psychological pathology.

  48. #48 by laramcgill on April 1, 2013 - 4:44 pm

    So with you on the Big Bang Theory favorite train. In fact, I live with a British person who has his doctorate in physics too…and he’s quite a bit like Sheldon. So much so in fact, that he got some Sheldon stuff for Christmas. Hmm.

  49. #49 by Robert Paul Williams Sr. on April 1, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    Loved the post even though the view into my own life was a bit frightening…it sounds just like my wife. No, really, my wife not me. I don’t have any psychological issues like compulsion, obsession, avoidance, and deflection. My wife may have OCD or issues with contolling and manipulating others, maybe even a touch of hoarding. But me…no I don’t have any psychological issues like compulsion, obsession, avoidance, and deflection. My wife may have OCD or issues with contolling and manipulating others, maybe even a touch of hoarding. But me…no I don’t have any psychological issues like compulsion, obsession, avoidance, and deflection. My wife may have OCD or issues with contolling and manipulating others, maybe even a touch of hoarding. 1,2,3…1,2,3…1,2,3

  50. #51 by Daniel Escurel Occeno on April 1, 2013 - 5:23 pm

    More products stored on the shelves, but it is terrible display marketing. It would be like trying to find a book without being able to see the cover. Congratulations. I am not much on VIDEO GAMES. Solitaire on the computer when the Internet does not load during whatever reason is the only thing I play. When I was a child, I was told; when you win at solitaire (playing cards), you win one wish. I wish for a billion dollars when I win at the E-solitaire on the home computer. I should have a net worth of 70 billion American dollars according to the record keeper. One of my characteristic labels is that I am lazy. I see it differently. I want to work smart and efficiently so I can train my mind to work faster using less time. Structure is my plan to achieve it. Have you heard that there is no magic formula to be a successful writer? I do not care if it is true. I am trying to find the structure to help me write and complete a novel faster, because I am lazy. Why spend all day writing, when I can achieve my goal in a couple of hours is the plan with structure. I am back to the three sections with three subsections in each section. Or three acts with three sub-acts in each act. When I finish my Time Travel Romance novelette, I plan on trying it with a mystery novel. I guess; I am obsessive in finding the structure to write faster in less time in completing a novel.

  51. #52 by pamelacreese on April 1, 2013 - 6:18 pm

    OMG! Love dear Sheldon. My daughter and l laugh till we cry and shake our heads in dismay at how well we understand his behaviors.

    l am also blessed/cursed to be OCD. I shall prevail. lf only the children would quit folding the towels and learn to roll them properly. :)

  52. #53 by Trinity Rivers on April 1, 2013 - 7:49 pm

    LOL I love Big Bang and am a recovering oldest sibling as well. My dark side is that I occasionally go to the other extreme from OCD and start acting like a gerbil on crack. My answer to people who question me when I get into a disorganization mania is “yes, as a matter of fact I WAS raised by wolves!” (I’m also bipolar so that may explain some of the extremes)

  53. #54 by James R. Tate Sr. on April 1, 2013 - 8:46 pm

    Sheldon is a one of a kind character. By the way, you and my wife would get along pretty well. Of course, I’m totally a fly-by-the-seat of my pants type. But my wife and I seem to make it work. Yin and Yang? I divorced my ex-wife because she re-folded the towels. Just sayin.

    • #55 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 1, 2013 - 8:54 pm

      In my defense, the cabinet for the towels is over a toilet. If you don’t fold them a certain way, they go tumbling right into the toilet. I am learning every day to just let him do it his way and that it’s okay. He can rewash them and then realize wifey might have a point that how the towels are folded (in this case) really is important. Now the Stair Master? Yes, I confess I am just a lunatic there.

  54. #56 by Elle Carter Neal on April 1, 2013 - 9:15 pm

    I start shopping in the bakery in one particular supermarket where the bakery is at the entrance… but I used to write the aisle numbers on my shopping list (had actually requested aisle maps from the supermarkets I used most frequently) so that I could do a single run through the shop and not have to go back over any aisles. (Unlike a previous commenter, though, I don’t mind crossing the list off out of order – in fact, I don’t usually bother to cross anything off the list.)

    I prefer Amy to Sheldon. Loved the ep where she made him clean her lab equipment: bwa ha ha ha!

  55. #57 by billgncs on April 1, 2013 - 11:23 pm

    I share these with my daughter who is an artist. So many points transfer

  56. #58 by jessicabrownnz on April 2, 2013 - 1:51 am

    My thing (slightly different to obsession) is intense focus. There is only one project that I am interested in an everything else might as well fall off the side of the earth. This really helped me through university when I had to concentrate and perform through the hundreds of distractions (full time work, looking after my family…) The down side (strangely) is that my husband wants me to apply the same focus and passion to things I am not interested in… unfortunately not possible. I suppose nobodies perfect.

  57. #59 by kathils on April 2, 2013 - 5:03 am

    You and Sheldon truly get me. I’m not *quite* that bad. Really. Okay, so when the hubby puts the left-over containers away after doing dishes I have to reorganize them because they’re wrong. Don’t get me started on sheets and closet doors, either. ;)

  58. #60 by Miriam Joy on April 2, 2013 - 5:10 am

    I am both obsessive (paperclips in drawers according to colour and don’t you DARE muddle them; power leads in particularly plug sockets, NOT to be moved; books in alphabetical order and series must be in the correct order) and the complete opposite (my room usually looks like a bomb has hit it and I’m terrible at filing paperwork).
    My obsessions usually manifest themselves in getting addicted to something, whether it’s a TV show, a book series, or a film. Or a hobby. Every hobby I start, within a month I’m desperate to do it as a job. It’s a problem.

    • #61 by Miriam Joy on April 2, 2013 - 5:10 am

      *particular plug sockets. Oops. Typo.

  59. #62 by Emma Burcart on April 2, 2013 - 5:48 am

    Oh, thank you! That makes me feel so normal! If I am into something, I am obsessed. That is just how I am. It is all I think about, talk about, even dream about.

  60. #63 by Marilyn Hudson Tucker on April 2, 2013 - 6:31 am

    Great post. I am the least OCD of the six sisters in my family, but I could still give Sheldon a challenge to beat. As usual, I’m putting your ilnk on SARA and SAWG on FB. Write on!

  61. #64 by Adrienne Bolton (@TheMommyMess) on April 2, 2013 - 6:37 am

    I laughed out loud about the scrapbooking phase. My obsessive nature made me one hell of a scrapper! Now? I don’t care if I ever embellish a piece of paper again in my whole life. I love your post. Every single word. Our greatest weaknesses can be our best strengths!

  62. #65 by sarahlong00 on April 2, 2013 - 7:55 pm

    It’s so true that you need to be a little bit obsessed to keep on writing! No wonder Sheldon has always been my favorite :)

  63. #66 by Debi on April 2, 2013 - 11:44 pm

    Eldest sibling. Controlling. OCD…back when I had babies, small children, 5 people at home. Sheldon is absolutely the perfect example of “the” best-written character driving a story. Finishing the book, definitely my downfall. Perfection. I’m always going back looking for perfection. Never gonna happen, so FINISH THE BOOK. That’s my goal. Three are finished, but learning experiences, good stair steps. Here I go. Diving off into that vast sea. BTW, you’re blog blows me away every time.

    • #67 by pamelacreese on April 3, 2013 - 9:59 am

      How nterestng that so many of us are the eldest :) and have both control and perfectionst traits.

  64. #68 by literalstarvingartist on April 4, 2013 - 9:06 am

    Reblogged this on literalstarvingartist and commented:
    Kristen Lamb (We Are Not Alone), as usual, pure gold.

  65. #69 by literalstarvingartist on April 4, 2013 - 9:09 am

    reblogged…. i get a little OCD that way too… if things aren’t “even” i have to make it so… and once i’m at the point of the stair master oddity, i just give up. i like to have things a certain way… and just like you, i hate watching my boyfriend fold towels (usually i take them after he’s done…) i always love reading your blog… it’s probably one of the best things for me since i learned how to hold a pencil.

  66. #70 by victorosakwe on April 8, 2013 - 6:24 am

    Reblogged this on victorosakwe's Blog and commented:
    yes! talent alone is not what it is required to become a successful writer, every writer needs the required passion, consistency and some level of resilience to scale through.

  67. #71 by Daphne Shadows on April 9, 2013 - 4:29 pm

    Oh jeeze. I am UBER obsessive. With a lot of random things. It drives my family insane. But that’s okay because we all started out pretty sanity challenged as it is.
    I don’t mind being obsessive. Along as I remember to curb my appetites. ;)
    Love this post! I wondered if other creative types were obsessive with things.

  68. #72 by Barbara Rae Robinson on April 10, 2013 - 5:43 pm

    Oh, yes. I’m obsessive too. I love that my husband decided he doesn’t want to grocery shop with me now that he’s retired. He always ran away with the cart and wouldn’t go where I wanted to go! I follow him around the house closing drawers and cupboards he leaves open. And my granddaughter loves to mess with the magnets on my refrigerator. She turns them out of alignment, and then watches to see how long it takes me to notice and straighten them up.

    Barb

  69. #73 by debbiemorella on April 11, 2013 - 8:58 am

    ROFL! That pretty much sums it up for me. I can’t help but wonder if creatives develop OCD tendencies because they don’t want their left brain to feel left out.

  70. #74 by raeroadley on April 11, 2013 - 4:38 pm

    Your blogs are packed with great stuff – I’m a new and happy follower. Thanks.

  71. #76 by hopecook on April 13, 2013 - 11:07 am

    lol…Big Bang Theory is the only good sitcom on tv anymore and I love it so hard! My husband also occasionally points at me with an accusing kind of expression when Sheldon goes on certain tangents. I definitely have my own idiosyncratic obsessions of the right way to do certain things, but where obsession really gets me is in mood and momentum. When I’m in the mood to do something and I get started, that momentum takes me over and I can barely stop to do anything else. Writing is like that is a HUGE way…realizing that I need to eat something because I’m getting a little woozy is such a massive pain in the ass. My head is in the book and I don’t want to take it out for any reason as mundane as EATING! I read books this way (one sitting baby, one sitting) and I watch tv this way (two seasons of Supernatural on DVD in two and a half days!)

  72. #77 by Edward Owen on May 17, 2013 - 1:10 pm

    I am ADD and OCD, so I try to get everything perfect, but I keep switching projects. “Were you raised by wolves?” I almost wet myself at my desk. My wife must be a bit OCD as well. Love your blog, I typically read 3-4 entries at a time as I don’t get to them every day, but you have your own folder in my inbox, so always easy to find. Thanks for the laughs.
    Edward Owen

  1. K. Ferrin | Obsession and Writing

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