Monday, July 14, 2014

How OCD Are You?

by Shannon Baker

In the famous words of W.C Fields, “Go away kid, you bother me.”

I’m closing in on a novel I started about a year ago. I haven’t been working on it all year, though. I wrote a couple of chapters and an outline, then turned my attention to another genre and cranked out two books. Those books are living in an undisclosed location under an assumed name.

In April I returned to this book. For a while I wrote like a sane person. I completed a draft, planned revisions, contracted an editor and we set a deadline. I can meet that deadline with certainty by working a challenging, yet rational schedule.

However, I lost my tenuous grip on reality four days ago. After a relaxing week of vacation with my guy, kayaking, hiking, cycling, camping in the Rocky Mountains, I headed down to Tucson. I have a ten-day stay planned in which I would inspect some work done on the house while we were gone, make some decisions on other house improvements and finish the revisions on my book. In the meantime, I wanted to trip up to Scottsdale to support fellow MI author, Maegan Beaumont with her release of Sacrificial Muse. All laid back and easy.

Somewhere in day two, I boarded the crazy train. Left to my own devices, with no one to expect company at meals or conversation over coffee, or to generally behave like a normal human, my engine heated up and I can’t seem to cool it down. I finished the revisions yesterday and now I’m filling holes and patching cracks. I can’t have a phone conversation because I’m distracted with my characters’ motivation and if I remembered to add that clue.

My neighbor, the sweetest woman in the world, is excited I’m here this week and has engaged me whenever I slip out front for any reason. I try to be friendly but I want to ignore her and run back to my computer. She invited me over for a cookout today and I am so irritated I have to interrupt my flow I feel like declining. But I didn’t. I even mixed up my killer Three-Bean Salad.

Then I had to stop a chapter spit and polish because my alert popped up that I have a blog post due tomorrow and as I’m writing, this happened:

I assume it was one of those desert thermals that landed on my house, because I had those pages anchored down. None-the-less, that’s the latest draft spread across the floor. And you know what? I’m not stopping to pick it up because I have two hours before the cookout and I have to finish this blog and get back to the edit.

 I should do yoga and I’ve got to pay some bills. And I have until the end of the month to finish this book and it’s very close to being done but I want to have time to read it out loud and I think I should send it to a beta reader or two and what if they think it doesn’t work and I wonder if I ought to change the part where the killer laughs and her motivation isn’t clear in the second part and, oh my god, I forgot she smashed her nose on the steering wheel in chapter 27 so people need to react to all that blood on her face in chapter 28….

This is why I shouldn’t do a private writer’s retreat. I need someone to speak slowly and maintain eye contact and tell me to step away from the manuscript.  

Tell me I’m not alone in this wacked-out behavior. Just how OCD are you?

1 comment:

Maegan Beaumont said...

Shannon... you are not alone. :)

Any writer worth their salt has been exactly where you are/were. My office looked very much like your kitchen until recently. I'm a compulsive researcher who must print. out. everything.
Thank you so much for taking a break from the crazy to come out to see me last week. One of these days, we're actually going to hang out and talk!