OCD Episode: Who Am I Writing For?

This is part of a series of ongoing OCD episodes, which I will post as they happen. This is live, stream of consciousness. It happens. Often. Sometimes the subjects are different.

I’m also reassessing my OCD and my writing. Hence, this.

I’m nearly one-hundred and fifty thousand words in and this still is not right. It seems that the problem is that I’ve either yet to have defined my audience, or I’ve yet to have found my audience, or that I don’t know which of these two would be the issue—”have defined” or “have found.” It is… one of these. This is snake-eating-its-tail OCD, and now it involves cliché.

I write, editing as I go along. Heavily editing. Editing for the hopes that… ok, you got me… my work is accepted by many as good. I realize now that I do this not for recognition (I’ve remained anonymous, dammit) but because I will never achieve my own standards for “right.”

You do realize I think this work is crap, right? Or, more aptly put: I think you think it is crap. I actually don’t really know if it is crap, because I await my audience’s reaction.

Writing and making art in general (which I do) is very difficult for someone with OCD. Work flows from the mind as inspiration comes, and it can only be organized after the fact. This is a horrible situation for someone with OCD. This is the crux of a lot of issues with having OCD: wanting things to be right before they exist.

I generally write in cuts of seven-hundred- to one-thousand-ish-word essays. Seven-hundred-and-fifty words is what I consider a minimum. Eleven-hundred is perfect. If things are to be right, I would have all of these words set perfectly in my mind before I wrote down the first word. My mind attempts this! The brain, I have found, cannot handle this.

I feel the need right now to mention that in real life conversation, my words go off in tangents constantly, and into tangents on tangents. I can’t stay on topic because I cannot organize thoughts. Why? Because my thoughts come at a rapid-fire pace and I cannot contain them all.

The nice thing about conversation is there is no editing, no need for that effort. The worst thing about a conversation with someone with OCD is there is no editing. I go on tangents often because I want to simulate the mechanism of editing I am afforded when writing.

One may think a writer’s worst enemy is the blank sheet of paper, as a painter’s worst enemy is the blank canvas, and so forth. It isn’t. It isn’t for me, I can’t speak for others. For me, the worst place in creating a work is just past halfway through. Where there is seemingly no turning back, yet everything is still… nascent.

Nascent.

Everything is still nascent? How can that be if the foundation of the work is more than half-done? That is how my OCD views creative work—only completed and perfect-in-my-mind work counts for anything and everything is a means to that end. Thus, everything is nascent until that point. To me, until a painting is seen as perfect to me, all is just dirt on a previously clean canvas. Same goes with words.

I draw your attention to… this which I am writing now.

I asked, “who am I writing for?” I’ve not really addressed that at all. Tangents, dirt.

I should be writing for me, but I am not. I’m obviously somewhat writing for you—but I don’t know you and I probably will never know your reaction. My OCD tells me your reaction will be that this is all messy crap. Most likely because this is how I see it.

Ok, I’m writing for you. What do you want to hear? I’m not going to make things up, this is not fiction. But I want to know what you want to hear and I want to write for that. Lest why publish my work in any format for others to read?

Problem: I don’t know you and I don’t know what you want to hear. If I did, my OCD would kick in and work with my disorder would be so much easier. See, I would write exactly what you want to hear. I would answer your questions. I would answer honestly, I am not going to tell you the exact words you want to hear. But I would write for you, to you.

I’ve considered exploring stopping my writing abruptly and in an unfinished form.