OCD and indecision – not a good combo

I wouldn’t say that I have OCD, but I have tendencies that way about some things. Including writing, which is one reason I’m so slow. I’m also indecisive. Again, not always, but it’s a tendency I have. When I don’t know exactly what I want I have trouble making a decision and sticking to it. Or I’ll think I know what I want, then second-guess myself, or I’ll want to have things two ways when they can really only go one way or the other. I can get in a real flap with indecision. (It extends to mundane matters, too. I can’t shop for clothing in department stores. I go to small shops where there isn’t so much choice.)

These two tendencies can get together and make havoc. I can spend a long time fiddling with something, then change my mind about it.

To be honest, I’ve found the process of self-publishing Mad Ancestor pretty stressful. Editing, copy editing, book layout and typesetting was a lot for my detail-gnashing and vacillating self to deal with. I’ve done my best and I hope readers find it acceptable. I imagine that if I do this again the book-making side will be easier, as I’ll have some idea of what I’m doing. I don’t know if I would ever copyedit my own work again. That could be worth paying someone else to do, for lengthy things like this, anyhow.

I feel a bit frayed. I know we’re not supposed to admit when we feel frayed. I know I’m lucky to have time to be a writer, and I’ve chosen this life and I don’t have to do it, so I don’t want to appear to be complaining. Hopefully admitting to being tired doesn’t count as complaining.

I want to put this project behind me, but it’s at the stage where it’s pricking at me with little details, even though I’ve told myself that it’s finished, so that it’s hard to concentrate on other things. But at least the weather has been kind, turning on a cool snap in the hot season. It’s only 25 degrees, which is lovely.

2 thoughts on “OCD and indecision – not a good combo

  1. I don’t know if it helps to hear, but I hear you, I really do. My best efforts to the contrary (lots of internal talkings-to, whether stern or cajoling), I get regularly red-faced and occasionally tearful over decisions like commas and paragraph breaks. The idea of copy-editing an entire prose collection gives me palpitations. So I raise my glass to your self-publishing valiancy, and hope that you’ve been being kind to yourself in the aftermath.

    “it’s at the stage where it’s pricking at me with little details”
    Very good way of putting it – I keep on meaning to push on through to the end of the Ancy-Fragonard illo, but being that it’s at a comparable stage, I find myself swinging between periods of detail-gnashing, and consequent periods of avoidance. Curse you, pricks!!!

    • Dude, I’m really sorry to hear you’ve got this thing too. I also can get in tears over those little things, and I know it’s far from rational. I don’t know if I fixate on the little stuff because in theory it *can* be made perfect, whereas the bigger picture simply can’t — and it seems screwy to me to even think of the big picture in terms of perfection; it’s as if I have different eyes for looking at the forest and the trees. Hopefully a problem shared will a problem mitigated. I find that it does help to check with someone else’s frame of reference, though I admit I sometimes *have* to fix something, even if I’ve been told that the effects of doing so will be next to nada.

      Details are still pricking me — copyedit stuff that I could have fixed but didn’t because I couldn’t decide on a trivial solution to some trivial problem. But it all becomes less preoccupying over time. What’s really ridiculous is when I dream of editing, but the words aren’t the same as the real ones, and between dream and waking I’ll feel like I must, urgently, change something that isn’t in the story at all.

      That illo was looking good to me! Ancy is hurling a hankie around in dismay at the thought of you gnashing over it.

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