Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Kathleen Pooler of Memoir Writer’s Journey.
“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
- Red Smith
I’m a memoir writer and a retired nurse practitioner. I’ve also been consumed by my writing for the past three years. I’ve taken writing classes, attended numerous writing conferences, workshops, webinars and I’ve also worked non-stop on building my author platform through blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, Goodreading, Google+ing and LinkedIn-ing.
I figured I needed to invest in my craft and learn as much as I could before I attempted to publish my memoir.
But when I started taking my iPad every place I went, checking my smartphone in the middle of the night, and tweeting in my dreams, I realized, this was not me being dedicated to my craft.
This was me having an unhealthy obsession with writing.
Confessions of An Obsessed Writer
I confess I have been possessed, obsessed, and tethered to my iPad, my smartphone, my PC, and my writing space. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing, or tweeting about writing, or posting on Facebook about writing. I jot notes on napkins, old envelopes, the edges of newspapers, anything I can get my hands on if I feel inspired and I’m not at my writing desk.
Have you, like me, ever felt obsessed, possessed, and tethered to your writing?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Sometimes writers develop an unhealthy obsession with writing.
I was an obsessed writer, too. But, recently, I’ve found my way back to sanity, and I’d like to share a few tips that may help you, too.
The Obsessed Writer’s Guide To Crawling Your Way Back To Sanity
- When I get overly obsessed with writing, I try paying attention to the people in my life who really matter. My husband and I have a date day once a week. I go out to lunch now and then when a girlfriend calls. I jump at the chance to see my grandsons. Lots of hugs every day are good for my soul.
- I put organizational tools in place to help me focus on the important tasks. For example, I schedule tweets, limit social media time, use Google Reader for my favorite blogs and use Evernote to organize my thoughts and material in one place.
- I schedule “sacred time” every day to pray, think, journal and write.
- I exercise daily. I dance Zumba, walk, and lift weights to counteract the deleterious effects that hours of having my butt in a chair can have on my health. (By the way, experts say a sedentary lifestyle can be as deadly as smoking to your health.)
- Sometimes, walking away from all the distractions for a short time is the best tip.
- Finally, I try to take care of myself so I can take care of my writing. Not the other way around.
The “Sane” Writer Pledge
I’m not going to stop writing. The truth is, if you tried to take my writing life away from me, I would hang on to it with the tenacity of a pit bull.
But I am going to modify things a bit.
Even if I slip now and then, I recommit to the plan that works for me so that I can still do what I love to do: write.
Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a recently retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is working on a memoir about how the power of hope through her faith in God has helped her to transform, heal, and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments–divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure–to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories. She blogs weekly at Memoir Writer’s Journey and can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.