Hipsters and Obsession

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Last Saturday, I went to Williamsburg for a friend’s birthday. For those of you who aren’t from New York, Williamsburg, in the Brooklyn borough of NYC, is the hipster capitol of the world. (See the Urban Dictionary definition of hipster if you don’t know what that is). I am not a hipster. I am a nerd. We are an entirely different breed of human.


I never feel like I fit in when I go to Williamsburg. I don’t own skinny jeans or ironic T-shirts or thick-framed eyeglasses without lenses. I can’t name obscure bands from the 80’s and no one has ever described me as effortlessly cool. 

Behold. The Hipster.
On Saturday, I made one concession to hipsterhood–I wore a vampy shade of red lipstick that is basically the uniform for Williamsburg female residents. But despite my efforts to blend in with the crowd, this weekend I felt even more like an anomaly. You see, something’s happened over the past few months. 

All of my friends are in relationships. In varying degrees of relationships, it’s true–some have been dating their boyfriends for years, others are just at the onset of a new relationship, and a few are somewhere in the middle. Regardless, on Saturday night I found myself at a table surrounded by couples. How the hell did this happen?

And in fact, my friend asked me, “So what’s been going on with you, Sally? Any updates in your love life?”

To which I had to respond, “Well, no.”

“Why?” she asked me, as though my answer were offensive. 

I said, rather defensively, “I’ve been too busy. I’ve been working on my book.”

I realized something in that moment, as soon as the words left my mouth. I do have a boyfriend. I have two. You may have met them–their names are Braeden and Tristan. They’re smokin’ hot.

Over the past few months, I have spent far more time with Braeden and Tristan–Sam, too–than I have my real, flesh-and-blood friends. I spent more time trying to describe the way Braeden looks with his shirt off than fantasizing about my hot Irish neighbor upstairs (don’t worry; he doesn’t read this) or my secret Wattpad lover (he does). I swear, I’ve dreamed about the characters in Paladin. They’re with me every second of the day.

I’m not trying to say that this is a good thing. It’s probably unhealthy, and it’s not something I think I can successfully explain to someone who doesn’t write. I don’t know if I can successfully explain it at all. Hell, maybe I am crazy.  

When I first started writing Paladin back in October 2011, writing was a hobby. I wrote on the weekends, an hour or two here and there during the week, because it felt good to write for pleasure again. I had never attempted to write a novel before and I didn’t know what the heck I was doing (still don’t). It was a time of experimentation and learning.

But then the story took on a life of its own, especially the last few months I was writing it. It was like I was possessed. Whenever I wasn’t at the office, I had to write. I didn’t care if it was 5:00 am in the morning and I had to be up for work at 8:00. The story of Paladin was trying to burst out of my skull and I couldn’t put it to paper fast enough. I wanted desperately to get to that happy ending that was playing like a movie on repeat inside my head.

I wonder if writing will always be like this for me–all consuming and compulsive. I wonder if I will always feel so attached to my stories–Paladin is like the result of a 15 month pregnancy. It is my beautiful baby (you should see the fathers). And I wonder if other writers, or artists, feel this obsession with their work. Does your story control you, or do you control the story? 

11 Comments

  1. Wow! That’s passion! Once again, I can relate to that! When one is passionate about something it flows through your blood, you literally think about it night and day. In those moments of solitude or at times when you SHOULD plug out from everything you cannot and you find that it relaxs you to think, plan and carry out your ideas ANYWAY.

  2. Wow. Yeah this is totally how I feel. I feel like in sixteen years, I haven’t done anything and while everyone else seems to be out there living and going to parties and making stupid mistakes that result in pretty entertaining stories, I’ve been under my sheets, pounding at the computer.

    But you know what?

    It’s what I love to do. & that’s the important part. So few people do what they love.

    & yeah the story in some ways controls me. I kind of sit there and stare at the document thinking “What just happened? That wasn’t…I dind’t plan for that….but I think I like it.”

    Your baby is very beautiful, mine kind of look like Mandrakes from harry potter, but they’re growing. Ish.

    The fact taht you have a hot Irish neighbor makes me so jealous. I have a neighbor with OCD, and he most definitely is not hot.

    1. I have a theory–untested–that writers are crazier than normal people. Welcome to crazy land!

      My baby is still a little Mandrakish. It’s got some growing pains, but I’m workin’ on it.

      Lol! My hot Irish neighbor is annoyingly perfect. He’s very nice though, on the like, three occasions that we’ve spoken.

    1. Don’t you imprint on my baby! it’s too young!

      I kid :)

      Your question is a blog post in itself. I was inspired to write Paladin by 2 things – 1)I really wanted to write for fun and experiment with fiction and 2) I have always loved fantasy but there aren’t many that feature strong female heroines, so I wanted to write one myself.

  3. Great blog, Sally. For what it’s worth, I find it crazy when writers don’t feel this way about their writing. Yes, it is meant to be all consuming, to the point when sleeping, eating and even toilet breaks are an annoying distraction. Yes, you totally do have r/ships with your characters (coy wave of fingers to Brae, “Hi, savage thexy!”) and yes it absolutely hazes the line between your creation and “reality”. That’s how it’s meant to be. I think writers are kidding themselves if they’d like to segregate and compartmentalise things ie THIS is my “real” life and THIS is my writing…. good luck with that. That’s also probably why we’re “weird” lol but then the truth is that normal is weird. And today’s weird is tomorrow’s genius :)

    My characters are very alive for me. Very real. I’d like to think I control the story but in the end I have to concede that it’s a collaboration. Takes alot of trust to give them the reins but the stuff that I get from just sitting back and allowing has been amazing. After all, they know the story best, it’s their story besides, I’m just the humble scribe. And yeah I fall profoundly in love with my men too :) Le sigh. Ain’t nobody’s going to tell me that’s crazy 😛

    1. I don’t know how u do it to tear yourself away from Brae and Tristan each time and go to work. I’d be entirely resentful and snarl at my colleagues if I had to do that. How DARE they keep me away from my beaus! I know it’s necessary…. SIGH…. but STILL!!!! Lucky for me I’m a student. To some extent I can control my timetable and decide on when I’m ready to detach from the zone. Though I’d still be pouting the entire time until I’m back in my world.

      Note to Sal then – get published. Rake it in. Quit work. Hang around with awesome men all day in a fantastical world of your making :) Get to it, girl!

  4. Well, I don’t write, largely because if I do something then I do it properly, and if I can only give half assed attention to something then I don’t start doing it.
    But, as a reader, when I’m *really* into a good book, I’m there. I live with the characters, I think about their reactions to things, I can get into a book night and day and at 3am realise I have to wake up in a few hours. So, I can think when you’re writing it you would be even more so.
    LOL on hipsters.

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