Writing Tip: Use Your Obsessions

woman in grey jacket sits on bed uses grey laptop

Every once in a while, when I’m scratching around for something new to write, I make a list of the things I obsess about.  Thankfully, some of them change over time, but there are always new ones to fill the gap.

It’s true that writers write about what they think about most of the time.  Things they can’t let go; things that plague them; stories they carry around in their heads waiting to be heard.

I used to get my creative writing groups to make a list of the topics they obsess about so they could see what occupies their thoughts during their waking hours.  After you write them down, you can use them for spontaneous writing before crafting them into stories.  They have much power.  This is where the juice is for writing.  They are probably driving your life, whether you realize it or not, so you may as well use them rather than waste your energy trying to push them away.  And you can come back to them repeatedly.

One of the things I’m always obsessing about is relationships:  in families, with friends, with lovers.  That’s what I tend to write about.  I think to myself, Why not?  Rather than repress my obsessions, explore them, go with the flow.  And life is always changing, so new material keeps presenting  itself.

We are driven by our passions.  Am I the only one who thinks this?  For me these compulsions contain the life force energy.  We can exploit that energy.  The same with writing itself.  I’m always thinking and worrying about my writing, even when I’m on holidays.  I’m driven.

blue quote about writing on yellow background

But not all compulsions are a bad thing.  Get involved with your passions, read about them, talk to other people about them and then they will naturally become ‘grist for the mill’.

What about you?  Do you find yourself writing about the same situations over and over again? I hope these thoughts are useful. Do you have anything you would add? Let me know in the comments and please share this post with a friend if you enjoyed it.

13 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Use Your Obsessions

    1. glad you like the quote. yes, putting words on the page is very scary for all of us, no matter how experienced we are. we are exposing ourselves and we might receive criticism. it’s tough but get those ideas down as if no-one will ever read them. keep pushing through the resistance. we each have something unique to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. We writers can indeed use our obsessions to advance our work, something some of us might forget. Remembering to delve deeper into obsessions is something that can really help. You are obsessing about it for a reason.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, I fully agree! There is so much depth and detail to obsessions and of course an inherent inner conflict which is why they are on our minds. Readers can identify with this kind of material and plots can be enlivened. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I always write about what interests me (does that qualify it to be described as an obsession?) although it often takes me a couple of drafts to figure out what my real interest in the story is. On a slightly different but not altogether unrelated note, I’ve noticed that some writers always write in the same style and therefore develop a recognisable voice, whereas others tailor their style to suit their subject matter. Do you agree with that? And if you do, what approach do you recommend for a writer whose interests (obsessions) are many and varied?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. tough question about different voices for different subject matter: when writing fiction i think it’s good to have a distinctive writing ‘voice’. different genre, different voice. and, yes, it takes most of us several drafts to know where our real interest in the story lies. we write to find out what we don’t know (something like that is a famous quote). hope that helps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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