11 August 2010

Driven or obsessed?

I got my dining room table back yesterday. No, it hadn't gone anywhere, but when my niece came to visit a few weeks ago, she started a 2,000-piece puzzle, which was so large the table was  only place big enough to spread it out. We ate around the outside edge the first night, but couldn't after that.

The puzzle from Hades, according to my nephew.
The niece left, leaving the barely started puzzle still on the table. For two weeks, I ate on the couch as the puzzle sat untouched. Then I decided I wanted the table back, so I worked on it for five days--dragging my oldest nephew, who's visiting now, into my obsession. We put the last piece in place Tuesday morning.

But we finished. An hour later, I tore the puzzle apart, put it back in its box and had polished up the table. Then I could go back to my other works in progress.

The obvious question, of course, is why didn't I simply box up the unfinished puzzle. Let's call it a personality tick. Books must be finished, as must puzzles, laundry, cleaning, renovations, etc. It may take me days or weeks to complete the task--or I may need to call in sick to finish (did that once while cleaning my house) but I will finish. The closer I get to being done, the more obsessive I become.

There's a fine line between being driven and being obsessed, and I think perspective is the key.

I'm driven when I'm working on a big goal, such as finishing a book, painting the house or finding the perfect pair of shoes. But on a smaller scale, i.e. puzzles and cleaning, it's borderline obsessive. Perhaps it's even detrimental. After all, now that my table is back and ready for use, I've noticed the rest of the house looks a little cluttered...


Jeffe Kennedy said...

Just beware of displacement activity! It's good to break from writing to do other things, but don't let them push the writing aside altogether!

Keena Kincaid said...

It usually evens out, Jeffe. When I'm nearing the end of the book, I'm a wreck. Don't eat, don't sleep, barely function in public. All I want to do/can do is write. Geez, does every other writer just lose it like this or it is just me?

Unknown said...

Ambition is obsession's lazy-ass sibling.

Keena Kincaid said...

LOL! My obsessive side agrees, Pete.