Without obsession, life is nothing. –John Waters
To write, I use the program Scrivener, about which I have become downright evangelical. It has all sorts of lovely features (chapter synopses on a corkboard, ability to keep research right there, easy to slide chapters around…). But I recently discovered a new feature: I can see what words I overuse. There’s a word frequency statistic so I can make sure my character doesn’t “startle” too much or that no one is “suspicious” more than once or twice.
Because I overuse words. All the time. Like “obsess.” As my daughter recently pointed out.
A LinkedIn e-mail came from a friend.
Me: Oh my God, you’ll never guess where E. is working!
Me: It’s something I’m obsessed with!
Girl: What is it?
Me: What am I obsessed with?
Girl: Is she working for a writing company?
Me: [Pleased with that response] Great guess! I am obsessed with my writing. But no, that’s not it. What do I always say I’m obsessed with?
Girl: She works for gummy bears?
Me: No, not gummy bears.
Me: No, not peeps! Seriously, what am I completely obsessed about?
Girl: Um… Oh, I know! She’s working at Ancestry.com.
Me: Yeah, I guess I am sort of obsessed with that. But that’s not it. What else?
Girl: Does she work for a bourbon company?
Me: [feeling kind of relieved that “bourbon” was her fifth guess and not her first] No! The place she works for is practically a blood sport in this family. It’s what I obsess over. Come on!
Girl: Huh. Can you just tell me?
Girl: Oh, I know! Fitbit! She works for Fitbit!
And indeed she does. And perhaps I need to be a tad more judicious in my use of the word “obsess.” Which will give me something new to—wait for it—obsess about.
(By the way, for those of who read these blog posts in a feeder or in e-mail, I hope you’ll mosey over to the actual website to see my new re-design. You can also sign up for my newsletter in which I will keep you updated on the progress of the novel.)