Immersion vs. Obsession
TODAY’S BREW: More coffee than you can even believe exists considering I have to deal with this dinosaur laptop.
Since finishing the edits on RUNNING AWAY, a book that took me 6 months to write, all in all, I’ve been able to look up from the laptop and really enjoy the world around me without those characters fighting for my attention in my mind. It’s been great to read a book without all but timing myself to make sure I don’t waste too much editing time, to go to the park with the kids and Tim and not feel like I was taking an unauthorized work break, to watch movies and play games and enjoy the simplicity of my life outside of my head.
Hacking away at the jungle that was RUNNING AWAY was incredibly involved and time consuming. I’m not accustomed to having to dig through so much information without just starting from scratch, which is so much easier. I was a missing person on Twitter, have not checked Facebook for weeks, missed working out at the gym a few times, haven’t returned phone calls, and haven’t been what you’d call Susie Homemaker around the house. I pored over every sentence in that book, careful to make sure nothing seemed transitory, a means to an end, or superflous. I committed myself until I felt like I might need to be committed, if you know what I mean.
I entirely own that my editing and writing process borders on obsession. Such is the way of life when you live inside your own imagination.
“Bordering” on obsession for me means that I do and can stop myself, eventually from letting the process consume me. I read for an extensive time to my boys every night, I make sure to eat meals and not snack like a fiend, to work out pretty regularly. I take time all day long to hug my kids, talk to them about what they’re doing, to cuddle with Tim, and be part of this family. I make sure that while my family knows I’m entrenched in my work, that it’s making me better, not deteriorating me. That’s the difference between being immersed in your work and obsessing with it; does it improve you and and itself, or does it tear you apart?
Now that I’m working on THE ANIMAL again, it feels like spring is all around me. The timing has been perfect. RUNNING AWAY begged for me to be trapped inside with snow piling up against the windows, delving deep inside my head. This book is streamlined, and only asks me to tell the reader more, show the inner workings more, not weed through a tangle to pull out what’s necessary. Writing Trent Dixon feels like a release, for both him and I. He’s a character with more inside him that needs expulsion than just the god that’s possessed him. He suffers from OCD, deeply rooted in his painful past, and being along for the ride that he brings us on is intense. Trying to free Trent’s obsessions is the best way to immerse myself in my work without letting my work pull me apart.
I’m happy that my work isn’t something I just HAVE to do, it’s something I WANT to do. The need to write these books and perfect them is only seconded by my desire to do it. It doesn’t run away with me, I’m the one in control. I can be obsessed with immersing myself in them, and never have to tell the two apart, and I ache to do it for the rest of my life. Healthy or not, it’s a passion I can’t live without, and one I don’t intend to.