Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sex and the Writer- Part Four of Five




Obsession.

As in can't get enough.

As in can't be put back into the bottle.

As in the opposite of methodical planning.

As in the opposite of sterile writer workshops group  and group critiques.

Look around at the people in your writers group.  Are they obsessed with your story?  Has it taken them over so completely they can't sleep at night knowing it must be told but still isn't finished?  Or are their comments just playing to the "group dynamics?"  Take it a step further- are you obsessed with your story?  Because if you aren't, no one else will be either.

You might object that obsession can be unhealthy.  Over-focus to the point of counter-productive.  Sure that can happen.  It does happen.

But when darkness pushes daylight over the edge of the world, we can still see because Thomas Edison was obsessed with giving us the electric light.  When common people lived in misery during the Depression, John Steinbeck obsessed about their plight.  Because of that obsession, he went and worked  as a migrant laborer to personally experience their suffering.  This magnificent obsession gave us "The Grapes of Wrath."

The great world builders of literature like J.R.R. Tolkein and H.K. Rowling obsessed over their stories, their characters and their themes and now we have "The Lord of the Rings" and Harry Potter.

Obsession is the total focusing of all our energy and desire on one goal.

Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" was a product of her personal obsession with finding a man who would love her like no woman had ever been loved before.

So take another lesson from sexuality.  

Write a story worth obsessing over.

If your story isn't worth obsessing over, write a story that is.

21 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Hello Rick!! I've popped over to see your cat who looks like Charlie and I'm straight into obsession, sex and passion!! Just as well I don't have any hot water!! Phew!!

:-)

But seriously!! Wise wonderful words - you have to be consumed by your obsessive passion or it ain't worth pursuing.

Take care
x

Rick said...

I'm so glad you dropped by. Cat lovers are always welcome here.

As to the topic, I think you said it better than I did!

Travis Cody said...

This is a tough one because first we have to convince ourselves mentally that there is such a thing as healthy obsession.

Rick said...

Travis, by obsession I'm talking about total, unyielding commitment to the quality of our stories. We go all out for pleasure (sex), but we sometimes "settle" for less on our stories.

Lynda R Young said...

Great point about being obsessed about our stories. Obsession really does help us focus. It also helps us to keep at it until we get it right.

Rick said...

It's a long and lonely process, Lynda. Obsession gives us staying power. And thank you so much for stopping by!

Bonnee said...

I'm pretty sure going at it for 3-4 years puts me in the 'obsessive' category. Hopefully everyone else who ends up reading it will become as obsessed about it as I am.

Rick said...

With that kind of focus and energy, Bonnee, you're going to have a winner on your hands. I'll buy a copy, and, if you don't mind, we can review it over at White Cat Magazine.

G said...

Yeah, I was like that with the last novel I'd written. Was so obsessed about it that it took me about 2 months to hack out the first draft.

Rick said...

That's impressive, G. If it's out yet, I'd like to get hold of a copy.

Charles Gramlich said...

I was so happy the other day in my writing group when one of the ladies reported she'd dreamt about my story after reading it. Score! :)

Rick said...

Slam dunk, Charles. (Might have something to do with the fact you are an excellent writer!)

BernardL said...

See, now I have another theory. The writing's fun. It's the editing where obsession takes over. :)

Rick said...

Ooh... very clever, Bernard.

Susan Fields said...

Good advice!

Rick said...

Thanks Susan! I owe you a White Cat coffee cup.

Sandi McBride said...

I always learn when I come in here...you have a way with words, no doubt about it...
Sandi

Rick said...

Awwww, thank you Sandi. I always learn here, too- from you and everyone else who stops by and comments.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I've always been obsessive about everything, ever since I was a kid. I've never been able to just let anything go, though sometimes I wish I could.
I agree with you that it's good for writers to be focused on their work. I think the ones who aren't as focused on it are the ones who give up easily or the ones who never finish drafts.

Rick said...

With a name like Neurotic Workaholic, you're on the write track!

G said...

Not quite yet, but there is something in the works.