According to the National Institute of Health, OCD – obsessive compulsive disorder – is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Yup, I got it and the behavior is called writing. Uncontrollable, recurring thoughts. I am always thinking about a manuscript, whether I am editing it, creating one or daydreaming about one I haven’t written. Or, it could a blog post like this one or my next newsletter. My mind is constantly working on something I am either about to write or have written. That could be an obsession!

Behaviors. Hmmmmmm. I take my laptop anywhere where I may have to wait. Waiting for a haircut, or my turn at the DMV or take-out, my MacBook Pro is opened and I dive in, oblivious to the world and get a few precious minutes writing. Others in line do things on their phone or stare into space or watch TV. Me, I dive into whatever I’m working on.

In the evening, unless I am really into a TV show, my computer is on my lap and I am either editing, outlining, writing. It is not just keeping up with the blizzard of emails I get, but it is on a book, blog post or my monthly newsletter.

My wife’s noticed. I get the “do you every put that thing (e.g. my laptop) down?” Or, “You do nothing other than bury your nose in your laptop …” I do eat, sleep, exercise, go to book signings, give talks, etc. and go to the bathroom.

What I have noticed is that my OCD has gotten worse as I got older. I just turned seventy-three and can hear the clock ticking. How many productive years do I have left? That thought sends me back to the laptop because I have so many more books I want to write before I’m done. My list of books that I’d like to see published is now at eleven, not including The Simushir Island Incident due out this fall. Some are already written, many are just concepts.

Is it healthy? It keeps my mind active which is important. Other retirees focus on different activities. I retired to write.

Is it unhealthy and done at the exclusion of everything else. No. But is it in first place? Oh yeah!

Writers write. Is it a form of OCD? A shrink would have to make that diagnosis. Meanwhile, it is back to my next book.

Marc Liebman

July 2018