Yes, the headline is on purpose.
If you’re familiar with my writing—and most likely you are at least to the following extent—you’ll come to realize I am quite verbose. I write very long pieces on the subject matter at hand. Whereas a typical article on the topics I cover should—from the lessons I’ve learned—hover around 600-700 words, I almost always go over 1,000 words. If not a lot more.
This is not limited at all to my writing on OCD. No, this is present in every form of communication I participate in. I’m generally a quiet person who only wishes to communicate when I have thought through all eventualities of such communication. But when I do… words. A lot of words.
I write 600-word long emails on simple subjects. Even when I talk, I find myself going into sidebars constantly to hit every point. Heck, even my sidebars often have sidebars! I footnote where footnotes are wholly unexpected1.
What does this have to do with OCD? You see, I don’t quite trust the whole concept of communication in brief. I am obsessed with making sure every single point is explained from my end in such detail that there is no question as to what I mean. Or, to my own ends, I wish to make as absolutely sure that the endgame I want is achieved.
As I write this, right now, I am thinking of four or five different directions I can see this going in. A writer more adept at brevity would pick one of those and go with the simple-and-deep. I can’t do that. I believe I can go deep, I hope my content has substance. I certainly look over every word to make sure it has a place in my mind. If yours—the reader—I am probably giving you far too much.
Quantity ensures quality in my mind. I leave it up to you to glean the most important stuff. This is not because I am too lazy to be brief2. Rather, I have a problem reading my audience, and therefore I wish to offer something that everyone can take from and put together on their own.
Let’s step outside of the creative world and into the world of work and personal communication. 600 words in an email? I mean every one of them purposely. I’ve edited them not for length but for meaning. This is a part of OCD.
I was once tasked with writing an outline for internal use on the processes of a website I worked for. I was told by those with knowledge of email missives I’d send daily to “keep it to 350 words or less, dammit!” I did. It came in at… exactly 350 words.
We go beyond writing (which I happen to be most comfortable with—to the point where I would be happy if one-hundred percent of my human interaction was via text in some fashion. I even write my mother letters printed out!) and move into the space of talking. I exist in two manners, I am either fully quiet because I feel I cannot get in all the words I want to get in (and thus would rather say nothing) or I am talking far too much, going off on tangents of tangents of tangents.
I am obsessed with covering every single point, and making sure that every detail of every point is at least heard or read. I fully know people literally or figuratively skim my conversations. That is what it is. I may do the same. I am drawn to long-form, but I appreciate brevity. I just can’t actually do it.
I’m getting better though! I know it is about time to wrap this article up.
And thus I will.
Even though I am leaving with many other things I want to say about this subject.
But at some point, you’d stop reading.
And I wouldn’t like that.