My wife wants to know what I’m doing.
“Sitting alone in a room is a strange way to pass your time,” she says, “and on a hot Summer’s day; it’s almost noon.”
“I don’t have a choice,” I say. I don’t look away from the computer screen, and my fingers still move across the keyboard. “I have to get this finished.”
“You’re obsessed,” she says.
“I’m not obsessed,” I say. “I’m just focused.”
She closes the door and leaves me to it, but we both know she’s right.
I like focusing on a single idea for hours at a time, but that’s the shiny side of the coin, the side I show to the world.
I considered calling this article ‘Focus On a Single Idea’, but that would have been a sanitised version of what I’m about to tell you. The other side of the coin, the side of obsession, is grubbier to look at, but don’t mistake its value.
First, there’s the American author, Jack Kerouac.
He wrote the first draft of his beat novel On the Road, in three weeks. Kerouac was so obsessed with his idea for a post-war road-trip novel, he typed his manuscript single-spaced without margins or paragraph breaks.