When I leave the house each morning, I check that the taps are turned off, the radio and kettle are unplugged and the oven, which hasn’t even been used since the night before, is still turned off. And then I check it all again. My colleagues roll their eyes each evening when I double back as I am leaving the office, to check that I really did lock my desk drawer. My friends smile as I check my car really did lock, when I press the remote control. And my family… well they don’t pass judgement. They can’t really, given that they are just as bad as me.
Writing is another of my obsessions. However, unlike double or triple checking a door, this is one that few people know about. It’s actually quite easy to hide it from people, because so few people even know about my passion for writing to begin with. They have no idea that I carry around a little notepad in my bag, ready for the moment that the perfect line of dialogue or song lyric should just happen to pop into my head. They are blissfully unaware of how I scramble for my torch in the middle of the night, so I can scribble down a new idea for a story.
Despite my frantic scribbling though, I thought that my obsession was actually not that bad. I had it completely under control. I was just jotting down ideas so that I could put them out of my head and forget them, without them constantly nagging at me, determined not to be ignored. But then, with one single decision, everything changed.
I decided to write a book. To be fair, it seemed like a completely harmless, albeit potentially insane idea, at the time. Who knew that that one decision would open the flood gates that had held back the ideas from taking over my life? Definitely not me.
The notebook I carry in my bag has doubled in size, and is usually not alone. The accountant in me is determined to ensure that even my creativity is neatly organised. Or perhaps that counts as another obsession? This means that each new novel I start has its own notepad. Each notepad is filled with sticky tabs, and highlighting, to ensure that I know exactly where in the story my latest scribbles will fall. Then periodically, I type these notes into my laptop and watch in fascination as my book grows.
When I started writing my first novel, my work was focused solely on one notepad. Then another idea struck me and a second book sprang to life. I tried not to let myself get waylaid with working on this new story, allowing myself to only jot down key ideas, so I didn’t lose focus on my first. But then the first novel was complete. While I waited on the edge of my seat for feedback from those who I had chosen to share it with (not that they knew at that point that it was mine), I needed a distraction. The second novel became my focus. Yet once again, other stories vied for my attention. In fact, the more I wrote, the more stories called to me. Like small children in need of attention, they impatiently demanded my time.
I dread to think what my friends and colleagues would say if they knew just how obsessed with writing I have become. I imagine there would be lots of raised eyebrows and shaking heads. The thing is, even that wouldn’t stop me. Or more accurately, it couldn’t stop me. The only thing that will stop me from writing now is if my ideas suddenly dry up. Given how much I love what I’m doing though, I really hope that doesn’t happen.
I never imagined that writing a book would have had such an impact on me and my life. If I’d known in advance though, would that knowledge have stopped me from pursuing my dream? Heck no. If anything, it only makes me wish that I had done it year’s ago. Just think of all the novels I could have written by now if I’d only embraced my creativity a little earlier. But then, perhaps I wasn’t ready to do so before. Perhaps, this was just the right time.