I will defeat you Khet *shakes fist*

I did not end this day the way I expected to. I started off this morning intending to do… nothing, basically. It’s Sunday and Sunday in my family is the one day of the week when everyone gets together for a family meal that lasts practically from breakfast till dinner. In years past this has been a non-negotiable event that takes the majority of the day. I’ve been able to weasel my way slowly out of it over the last couple years, and now it’s my day to sit undisturbed and spend some time to myself. Usually I use this time to catch up on laundry and dishes or to read a book. *thumbs up*. Today, I did nothing of the sort.

Instead, I got up this morning and said “Cary, that’s enough of that bull-crap. You said you were going to get a book published this year, and you are woefully behind. Get to work!” So, I set aside my TBR list (which is huge by the way) for a day and sat down to do something I literally haven’t done in years: An outline. You see, I’m severely OCD. I’m not talking about being obsessed with organizing (though I am) We’re talking about a person who when she was little used to turn doorknobs, flip light switches, and blink a certain amount of times in order to balance the world out. Yah, that sort of crazy. I’m not as bad as when I was little anymore, most of my OCD shows itself in the way I’m obsessed with shredding random things into miniscule pieces on my desk, my inability to sit still, my obsession with organizing and being thorough, and an infrequent need to repeat words containing the “ih” sound. Yah, I’m still weird. Moving along.

When I was a teenager I used to spend weeks outlining stories. The problem was, I’d get so incredibly obsessed with “getting it right” (thank you OCD!) that I could never actually get to the writing part. So, to avoid my OCD, I became a pantster. It was great. It really was. For once I could get dozens of chapters done in a week without looking back. I made a ton of progress and all was right in the world.

Until I ran into a part of my story where I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Without an outline  I’d really only half-figured out my story, and when I got to the point where I didn’t know what came next… I stalled. I started to review what I had, and started to nitpick and go a little crazy about perfecting what I had.

So, this morning when I decided to get to work, I said “Screw you OCD. I’m 29, and you will not keep me from writing this story.” and got to work. I looked up some story formula’s, plotting advice and outlining methods and started to really work out what my story was about.  I’m still only partway into figuring the whole mess out, but my story has drastically changed (for the better) and for once I think I have an idea of how this is going to go. So watch out Khet, you’re about to get a makeover! At least I  feel like I got something accomplished today.

PS: writing with OCD is like being a gerbil on a wheel. You run in circles, the same circles… over and over in an attempt to make each circle better than the last. Sometimes I wish I could just jump off the wheel and dismantle it with a crowbar. Anyone else out there writing with OCD? How on earth do you stop obsessing over the details and perfection? It makes my brain hurt.

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12 thoughts on “I will defeat you Khet *shakes fist*

  1. I have struggled in the past with OCD too; diagnosed in high school and was blessed to have some fantastic therapy so that I learned how to handle it and it is not much of an issue most of the time for me anymore (though my compulsions have always been mental, not physical)…. never connected it with my preference to wing it without an outline, though. You might be onto something there for me as well! 🙂 OCD is one of those things that manifests a bit differently for each person though

    I do often find myself, when editing, getting stuck on one or two paragraphs. When I realize I’m doing that I have to force myself to walk away and come back to it a bit letter. It really is like a wheel; the only way to stop spinning in place (for me) is to get off for a bit and try again. Usually when I come back I am fresher and in a less perfectionistic frame of mind.

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    • It’s nice to find someone else dealing with it! You’re lucky you were diagnosed too. I just thought I was quirky when I was little.. for some odd reason my parents never thought “huh that’s strange… maybe we should get it checked out” so dealing with my OCD and learning to ignore the ticks was something I had to do on my own. It was only after I was an adult that I went … wait a minute.. omgosh I have OCD! and went on a research binge. You should have seen my face the first time I realized there was a name for what was making me obsessively turn doorknobs, blink and flip light switches. Then I was mad at my parents for being stupid. My family still thinks OCD is something people choose to have.

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      • it’s definitely not!!! kudos to you for taking the initiative to take some action. yes, I was very lucky to have gotten help for it at a young age. I have a high level of what they call “insight,” meaning I understand that I have OCD and I know what OCD is. I am able to separate the OCD from me and recognize when a thought process is my OCD taking over. That goes a long way to helping me “let it go.”

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        • haha i’m sort of the same way. after all the years I’ve had it I’ve sort of figured out what’s the OCD, and what’s just me being me. I’m also pretty good at figuring out ways to break myself off from my OCD actions before they turn into something unmanageable. my husband kind of takes it in good humor… his favorite thing to do is sneak up behind me and scare me, then do it again and say “I had to balance it, your OCD compells me!” makes me want to smack him sometimes. LOL

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