Monday, August 13, 2012

OCD--do you suffer from it?

Compulsive behavior, or, less gently put, obsessive compulsive disorder. Who, me? Leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight? Never. Leave home in the morning with the bed unmade. Not my mother's daughter! My obsessive behavior carries over into lots of areas of my life. The other day three things were on my errand list on an already crowded day--buy printer paper, buy some back-up of the cosmetics I like, and get the car washed. There was absolutely no reason all had to be done that day. I had enough printer paper for the weekend; I probably had enough make-up and eye shadow for a month; and the car, while dirty, would run just fine if I didn't get it washed. Did they all get done that day? You bet--except the car, because the rear window on the driver's side suddenly refused to go up, so driving through an automatic car wash was not a good idea. I made an appointment to have it fixed this week and will get them to wash it when they fix the window.
But compulsiveness carries over into my writing. I was on a roll last week of writing 2000 words a day, come hell, high water, or my grandchild. I did that for four days, though I have doubts about the wisdom of writing to a certain word count. You may pad, write junk, anything to get those words down--and later have to delete half of them. Still, since I write short, one of my big worries is always that I won't make the minimum for a cozy novel--I aim for 70,000 words but often fall short. Anyway, after feeding my compulsion for four days I hit a wall. During a long, sleepless night, I worked out where the plot was going and got up early in the morning feeling elated, compulsively made notes. And haven't written a thing since--almost five days. Life gets in the way even of compulsiveness--the illness and death of my dog, a trip to visit one son and his family, company for dinner, a talk to prepare. But tonight my mind is on the 2,000 words I'll write tomorrow.


Bill Bellomy said...

I don't believe you are truly obsessive-compulsive, because true OCD behavior is irrational, and your so called obsessive acts are borne out of rational thought. We, as human beings take comfort in having certain routines and a sense of order. And taking notes at two in the morning is just responding to the randomness of the creative muse - which may come at any time and any place! So don't fret and trust that you are just fine the way you are!

Love your posts!
Bill Bellomy

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Bill. Sometimes my compulsiveness is a burden, but I like your interpretation. And I value your posts--especially your political insight.