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gettingby
11-30-2015, 05:22 PM
I am totally obsessed with all things reading and writing. Most of my time is spent doing these things because I love it. And when I'm not doing it I love to talk about. I go to panel discussions and poetry readings. I love meeting authors. And I love that I am giving it and honest try and doing my best. I just wanted to check in with the group here. We're all obsessed, right? I mean I'm sure it's in our own ways. But we're all really into it. At first it was something to do. Now it's so much more than that. I just wanted to see if this was normal. Are you obsessed with writing?

Helix
11-30-2015, 05:24 PM
No.

StoryofWoe
11-30-2015, 06:07 PM
I prefer the term, "focused." :tongue But yes, I would say so. I have the luxury of working a job that allows me the freedom to write, outline, brainstorm, etc. while on the clock, of which I take full advantage. I've never been one of those bomb-like people who explode in a bunch of different directions. Rather, I pick one thing and hurl myself toward it, like a missile. I aim for mastery over variety. It's how I've always been. Sometimes I worry that being too focused can put undue pressure on the craft/muse, but so far, I've managed to make it work for me. I do think it would be a lot harder to sick with if I wasn't getting accepted into anthologies while I prep for querying.

You're in an MFA program, right? I'd imagine that environment could serve as both catalyst and enabler for your "obsession." At the very least, it allows you to immerse yourself in a culture filled with other people who have elected to make writing a major part of their lives.

DancingMaenid
11-30-2015, 06:23 PM
Yes and no. Writing occupies my mind a lot, but it's not as singular of a focus as it was when I was younger.

Taylor Harbin
11-30-2015, 06:45 PM
I don't know if obsessed is the right word, but I am resolutely determined to be the best I can be. I'd like to do it full-time one day, so I spend a good deal of my spare time trying to improve. The word obsessed seems to denote an unhealthy attachment. I prefer to think of it as my one great passion/other job in life besides being a historian, but I do have other interests and won't spend every single day in front of a typewriter. Since my first sale in September, I've been writing a lot more than usual. Call it a major dose of positive reinforcement.

But I'm willing to take upwards of a week off to let my brain relax, and I won't hesitate to make room for responsibilities and quality time with my wife. She's more important than any work I could ever produce. While I do enjoy listening to author interviews, I'm pretty selective about who I pick. And I've never been close enough to a convention with panels to attend.

So, to cut to the quick, reading and writing enriches my life but they are not the sole purpose of my life. They are two great loves.

KTC
11-30-2015, 06:54 PM
Obsessed really has become a dirty word. Especially to those of us who deal with OCD issues.

I am completely and utterly focused on writing. When I am...

nastyjman
11-30-2015, 07:04 PM
Yes.

DancingMaenid
11-30-2015, 07:25 PM
Obsessed really has become a dirty word. Especially to those of us who deal with OCD issues.

I am completely and utterly focused on writing. When I am...

For me, as someone who probably doesn't have OCD but who has struggled with related symptoms over the years, when I say obsessed I mean, well, obsessed. I was so fixated on my stories as a teen yhat I rarely thought of anything else, and I wouldn't call the effect on my life altogether positive. The effect on my writing wasn't too great either, actually. Though, I don't think that's like the OP's experiences.

These days, I feel there's a lot more balance in my life, which is good. Going to college helped.

Toothpaste
11-30-2015, 07:34 PM
Absolutely not. And I think it's important to point that out. Because there is this supposed universal truth that authors must be obsessive about both reading and writing, and if you're not you're not a real writer. I take long breaks from writing and I don't miss it when I do. I read a fair bit, but also can not. And I get sick to tears of talking about writing. Honestly when I get together with friends and they start asking me about some new writing project I'm working on I tend to ask them if we can talk about something else. It's too stressful for me.

And yet I think I'm a "real" writer through and through. There are many different personality types who write, no one is better than the other.

Glyax
11-30-2015, 08:18 PM
Eh...obssesed, as was previously pointed out, indicates a negative connotation. (I believe I stated that correctly...it's early, mind is jumbled in the morning haha). That being said, writing definitely plays a part in my life, it is a passion, and is a part of me. Writing allows me to create worlds and scenes that may not really be possible in the current world we live in, and yet, for the time I am writing, they become real. The freedom to live, to expierence, anything imaginable through writing and reading, is definitely important to me, and I feel the world would be darker without literature. As such, I consume as much as I can, and try to produce quality work whenever I can.

Laer Carroll
11-30-2015, 08:30 PM
I'd probably say Yes. I retired early from a job I loved (which paid very good money): working at the very cutting edge of the aerospace industry helping to create a future that once was sci-fi.

What I got was a comfortable but hardly lavish retirement where I spend ten hours a day seven days a week creating works which get me only a few hundred dollars a year. But I'm loving it even more.

ebbrown
11-30-2015, 08:35 PM
Yes. I have to make constant effort to focus on things going on in the rest of my life. I tend to be an all-or-nothing sort of person. I am very happy when I am lost in my writing world, but I am lucky I have people who love me who will pull me back when I'm in too deep.

Rachelgrant6
11-30-2015, 08:57 PM
I like to read a lot and so writing is constantly a focus. When I have a really good idea, I am obsessed ( mainly because I'm afraid I will forget it) and I want to write and write. So semiobsessed. I need a break sometimes.

jjdebenedictis
12-01-2015, 03:18 AM
Another 'No'. I love it, but I have to make myself sit down and do it.

andiwrite
12-01-2015, 04:06 AM
Another "yes" vote here. I am a workaholic and wouldn't have it any other way.

ElaineA
12-01-2015, 04:22 AM
I'm relatively obsessed with the writing part, in that I'm irked any day I don't write something. When I'm hardcore writing, real world stuff distracting me makes me cray-cray. I spent a lot of years with my writing on the back burner so I feel like I'm making up for lost time. During those years I read hundreds and hundreds of books, so now my reading has gone to the back-burner. I don't do any of the other things like going to readings or meeting authors just because they're authors. But when it comes to words on page, yes.

There's a reason my avi is a terrier.

Ken
12-01-2015, 04:23 AM
Last year I decided to write in a park, like I sometimes do. By the time I got there it was pouring rain. Fortunately there was a plastic garbage bag in the vicinity. Turning it into a makeshift tarp I wrote under it for about an hour and still wound up soaked. But I got in some good quality writing.

Mary Love
12-01-2015, 04:23 AM
I tend to throw my lures out every which and way and become mediocre at a lot of things. Only recently have I come to realize that writing is one of those things that I come back to again and again and really love, so I'm forcing myself to learn some discipline and stick with it.

Yes, I love writing.
No, I have to force myself to do it.

LBecktell
12-01-2015, 04:32 AM
I'm utterly obsessed with what I've written--the characters, their world, the story. I'm not obsessed with writing anything until it takes on a personality. Then, I can't even talk to someone who's read it without being that dweeb who's like "That's such a [MC here] thing to do" or "If only we had [insert thing from story world here]."

...My friends are so kind and patient and gentle with me.

Jamesaritchie
12-01-2015, 04:50 AM
I love writing, but obsessed? God, no. I write because I love writing, and because it's what I do for a living, but I spend almost zero time think about writing unless I'm actually writing, or on a forum like this one. Writing falls somewhere around ninth on my list of life's priorities.

Anna Spargo-Ryan
12-01-2015, 06:58 AM
No. I love doing it, and when I write something wonderful I am smug and irritating, but I think about all kinds of other things too. I like to do writerly activities and go to festivals and talk to other writers, but I also have two tween daughters and a business to run and dogs' and cats' noses to boop and so on. Writing must be in my top five things to do and think about, but it's far from the only one.

There was a time when I was obsessed with writing, and with my "being a writer". It was very unhealthy indeed, for me.

Filigree
12-01-2015, 08:24 AM
No. Writing is a creative tool for me, just like drawing, painting, jewelry, etc. I'm more obsessed with the routines of working within a project, than the final outcome. Which is good for editing and refining work, not so good for finishing product. Writing is also how I make my living, in rather boring but necessary nonfiction fields.

Twenty-five years ago, I was obsessed enough to love 'talking shop' with other people, to the point it derailed my ability to actually write. These days, I'l discuss a bit with fellow AW members, and more with very trusted beta readers, but I keep a lot of things close to my chest. For me, writing is such a solitary act, that isolation is no hardship.

shizu
12-01-2015, 03:52 PM
No.

It's a very important part of my life, but not to the point of obsession. I've learned the hard way over the years that the only thing waiting there for me is severe burnout followed by apathy bordering on resentment. I don't ever want to feel that way about writing, so I try to maintain a kind of professional distance I guess.

One thing that helped was to replace the role writing played in my life as a hobby with a different creative outlet. I don't think it's true for everyone, but for me there was definitely a shift in perception when I went from writing purely for fun and compulsion to "people are actually paying me for this, wth..." writing, and it was no longer my go-to de-stressing activity. Having other things fulfilling that function -- sewing, photography, jewelry-making -- keeps me from tying up unhealthy and pressurizing amounts of my self-esteem and identity solely with my writing, which in turn keeps the obsessiveness at bay.

kuwisdelu
12-01-2015, 05:41 PM
Not right now.

I intend to be.

For a while anyway.

brainstorm77
12-01-2015, 05:59 PM
No. With working a full time job and other commitments I don't have the time to be obsessed with it. I write for a second income and I read for leisure when time permits mostly at night while settling down in bed.

gettingby
12-02-2015, 02:03 AM
I prefer the term, "focused." :tongue But yes, I would say so. I have the luxury of working a job that allows me the freedom to write, outline, brainstorm, etc. while on the clock, of which I take full advantage. I've never been one of those bomb-like people who explode in a bunch of different directions. Rather, I pick one thing and hurl myself toward it, like a missile. I aim for mastery over variety. It's how I've always been. Sometimes I worry that being too focused can put undue pressure on the craft/muse, but so far, I've managed to make it work for me. I do think it would be a lot harder to sick with if I wasn't getting accepted into anthologies while I prep for querying.

You're in an MFA program, right? I'd imagine that environment could serve as both catalyst and enabler for your "obsession." At the very least, it allows you to immerse yourself in a culture filled with other people who have elected to make writing a major part of their lives.

I am in an MFA program. Honestly, without it I think it would have been harder for me to continue because I only get rejections. My biggest acceptance was getting into this program that takes very few students each year. But because of school, I am still writing all the time. Now that you mention it, I think it really did launch my obsession. Okay, I was a little obsessed before, but since going back to school, everything has gone up a notch or two. I hope I don't lose this obsession or focus I have going on after I graduate.

gettingby
12-02-2015, 02:19 AM
I just wanted to say I didn't mean to offend anyone by using the word obsession. It's just how I would describe my relationship with the literary world. I feel that way because I want so much to be a part of it. When a new book comes out that everyone is talking about, I have to read it. Every year I pick up the Pushcart anthology. When an author I like is reading at a bookstore I want to go. I like to know what's going on, so I follow these things. And then I try to write. I try so hard that I don't know what else to call it but an obsession.

Helix
12-02-2015, 04:19 AM
I just wanted to say I didn't mean to offend anyone by using the word obsession. It's just how I would describe my relationship with the literary world. I feel that way because I want so much to be a part of it. When a new book comes out that everyone is talking about, I have to read it. Every year I pick up the Pushcart anthology. When an author I like is reading at a bookstore I want to go. I like to know what's going on, so I follow these things. And then I try to write. I try so hard that I don't know what else to call it but an obsession.

I'd call that enthusiasm and interest.

Kylabelle
12-02-2015, 04:43 AM
Hmm, yes, and passion, devotion, commitment are also words that come to mind. As for normal? I have less and less use for that term as time goes along. The range of possibilities is large. If you are feeling alive, enlivened, happy at least some of the time, experience excitement as well as peace here and there, then you're fine, IMO. Don't try to fix yourself too much.

Jamesaritchie
12-02-2015, 10:05 PM
Now, if you change the word "writing" to the word "reading", I might well be obsessed. I could give up writing without any trouble at all. I was planning to do so before two heart attacks knocked my bank account into the basement. But reading? Not a chance. I've been reading since I was three, and I'll read almost anything. I read every danged day, and pretty much everywhere I go. I love it immensely. I don't go a day without reading.

Besides, reading is where we learn how to write well, so the two go hand in hand. But even without writing, reading is most certainly a driving passion.

Travis Kerr
12-02-2015, 10:32 PM
While I'm sure not everyone is really obsessed, I'm sad to say I seem to be. I far too often stop in the middle of something to write down a thought, which inevitably becomes part of one book or another. The only thing I don't like about it in fact is that it takes away almost all of my reading time.

Norman D Gutter
12-03-2015, 07:24 AM
I was once, but not any more.

Fruitbat
12-03-2015, 07:42 AM
No, I get obsessed with all kinds of things but then the intense interest passes and I'm done with whatever the latest big thing was. Writing is more of a constant, always lurking in the background even when I'm not into it at the time.

Maze Runner
12-03-2015, 07:34 PM
Now, if you change the word "writing" to the word "reading", I might well be obsessed. I could give up writing without any trouble at all. I was planning to do so before two heart attacks knocked my bank account into the basement.

Sorry to hear this, James. Hope all is well. You sure give a lot of great advice for people like myself. All the best!

As for the OP, I'm not obsessed, I do enjoy it though, and could live the rest of my days happily with a bit more encouragement. To do it full time and still pay the bills would be like falling into a dream.