The difficulty of writing, when you are a perfectionist, is starting. And finishing. And the bit in between. The difficulty with writing with my OCD is the posting/sending/getting work out there. I would love to write books. But where on earth do you start? I find it difficult enough to work through getting a blog post finished and to the point of uploading every few months (sorry). My OCD makes me question everything I write, and everything I think about writing. My perfectionism makes me not want to start something unless I think it will be the best thing I can possibly write. It is a lot of pressure, and it is all self-inflicted. Probably I shouldn’t be confusing perfectionism with OCD. But then I find they are so closely linked in my psyche.
Maybe this is the same for all writers? Or do some just sit down and the words flow? The ideas come thick and fast? The mood just right? Or do they figure if you waited until you were in the right frame of mind to write you would never write anything? As a perfectionist, and someone with OCD, I never want to write unless I know exactly where it is going and how I am going to get there. It’s not very conducive to creativity or flow.
So, I think, ‘maybe I should read more’? Would this help? I like to plan things, and I like to read other people’s guides to give me inspiration to figure out my way of doing it. But this all takes time. And what if I get it wrong? I can’t be having that! And I always assume everyone is better than me, or has a secret formula they won’t share. Whenever I read writers’ advice on writing, it is always the same – just write! I find that so difficult. Perhaps it is practice that helps make perfect, but isn’t that so easy to say?
My OCD sometimes affects my ability to publish posts. It has affected my writing for a long time. When I used to work in an office, I often found it incredibly difficult to send emails. I would have to re-read what I had written several times to make sure it was suitable. My obsessive thoughts would make the suggestion I had hidden an inappropriate comment somewhere in the basic text, and I would then spend ages scouring the email to check I hadn’t made an insulting or offensive remark. Of course, I hadn’t, but OCD makes you doubt yourself. And it makes completing writing, for me, very difficult.
It’s difficult to start, and it’s difficult to finish. It’s difficult to isolate ideas from the rush of things in my head, and it’s difficult to publish my work once it’s done. Maybe I should just stop, then. But I so love to write! I love the thought of writing, I love the process, I love the time it gives me with myself. I should, therefore, just do it for myself, but there is an urge to write for the benefit of others too. It’s difficult to admit that you aren’t just writing for yourself, that you need the input from others’ experience of reading your words. It feels a bit selfish and egotistical. But it’s just another way of connecting with people, and connecting can be hard when you are forever in your own head.
I guess, with a lot of things in life, the best thing to do is simply to keep going. As Dory repeats in Finding Nemo, ‘just keep swimming’. Something is bound to work, right? If you are a writer (or you just write), do you find the process difficult? How do you motivate yourself and what inspires you? If you have anxiety, how do you manage it within the writing process (and not let it kill the creativity!)? I’d love to hear your thoughts.