We writers obsess over things. Each of us has our own slant on this, usually centering around our works in progress, and how the world will receive our baby.
Me? I obsess over moose. Just ask my family.
Around this time last year I reported on the blog about some of my research on moose for my last Nell Letterly book, Murder by Moose. I went up to the mountains last year, hunting for a glimpse of that majestic animal, but alas, it was not to be. The moose were hiding from me. Admittedly, I didn’t visit the moose capital of the state.
This year I did, and I’m ecstatic to report that I spotted a female at Cameron Pass!
Isn’t she a beauty?
As I watched, a small crowd of motorists pulled up, too. Moose have extraordinary hearing, so I knew she could hear us, but she was too busy feeding to bother with us. Besides, we kept our distance, thus the grainy photo quality. I had just come from the moose visitor center, where I learned that if a moose watches you, you are too close.
Oh, I obsess over writerly issues, too, just like any other writer, but right now, this moose sighting is haunting me. Does that mean another book with a moose for a character is in the early stages of development? Maybe. Because writers often work on ideas that grow out of an obsession.
Obsessions help us choose what to write about.
Years ago, my first assignment from my first real writing teacher was to write up a short discussion about the idea I wanted to work on in class. Everyone else seemed to go into that class with an idea already in hand. I had five ideas, and each of them seemed equally important. How was I to know which idea to choose? The teacher offered to look at two of my ideas, if I could narrow my choices down. I had trouble with that, too, as I kept going back and forth between all five. But then I realized that I kept going back to one idea more than the others. It mattered the most to me, because it had to do with another obsession of mine–family. That was the idea that I chose to write about. It’s been easier to choose ever since, because obsession guides me.
Do you use obsession to help guide you with your writing and/or reading?