Make the Most of Your OCD: Write a Novel

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by fixations and repetitive behavior.  I used to check the stove at least five times a night to make sure that it was off.  I’d also check and recheck the front door to make sure that it was locked.  This meant that half-way down the road, I’d feel a compulsion to go back home and rattle the door knob, just in case I’d forgotten to lock up.  Inevitably, the stove was off, and the door was locked.  Did that satisfy my compulsive behavior?  No.  My anxiety persisted until I completed these daily rituals.

The repetitions were disruptive and time-consuming.  Finally, I found a healthy way to channel OCD into a worthwhile project.  I had always wanted to write a novel . . . .

My grandmother’s favorite novel was ST. ELMO, by Augusta J. Evans Wilson.  The book was handed down to me and became my favorite novel also.  I read it seven times and liked it so much that one copy wouldn’t do.StElmoPhotosMy obsession with ST. ELMO led to an interest in the author, Augusta Evans Wilson.  I began collecting photos of her as well as the houses she lived in or visited.  


I even made a pilgrimage to Mobile, Alabama, where Augusta spent most of her life, and to Columbus, Georgia, where Augusta was born and finished writing ST. ELMO.  Once I came within six feet of her.

AEWsgraveSt.ElmoHouseSign 001


PrinceFrontAndBackSo, have I recovered from OCD?  Yes–or I’m in remission.  Either way, it beats writer’s block.

12 thoughts on “Make the Most of Your OCD: Write a Novel

    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

      Thank you for commenting, Eli. Writing is/was therapeutic for me. My dad had OCD too. He washed his hands repeatedly because he was afraid of what he called “hydrophobia” (rabies). I wonder what causes OCD? Is it part of a larger problem? A chemical imbalance, heredity, anxiety-depression? I no longer feel the need to check the stove and the door, but I do suffer from anxiety,and it doesn’t take much to trigger it.

  1. chetan4b3

    Reblogged this on kidandteeninspire and commented:
    You will not be same person after you keeping down a book after reading. This one clearly explains the quote. So she has come over her OCD and if you are suffering from lot of negative thoughts, then it is time to read awesome books like “Think and Grow Rich” “The monk who sold his Ferrari” and many more. You will definitely over come any of the dis order. If you don’t laugh at me and this time I may also seem obvious, “You can also recover from cancer from reading a positive book.”

  2. not so anonymouse

    I finally found my copy and read it! I loved your intrigues, characters and abundant references to oh so familiar names : ) You did a lovely job Sheryl and I am so glad I found my copy. I was reading it while in Connecticut visiting mom and she would take it out of my hands and ” read” it herself. Very cute.

    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum Post author

      Thank you, Lorin. I really appreciate your comments. Your opinion–and Leatrice’s–mean more to me than you can imagine. Your grandpa (and the characters he portrayed on-screen) moved the story forward. I kept his picture in front of me as I wrote. Early on “Effie” and “Gideon” took over. All I had to do was write down what they said to each other. It was like taking dictation. When I started writing the book, I only knew how it would end. No outline. The plot developed as I wrote. “Effie” and “Gideon” determined everything between Chapters 2 and 34. Maybe I should list them as co-authors–lol. Love and blessings to you, your sweet mama, and all of your family. xxoo

  3. Lisa Clewis

    Knowing where you are coming from I totally enjoyed reading your article. I too have found healing in writing. I shared your article on facebook. I hope that it helps other people. There’s a lot of people with OCD.

    1. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum

      Thank you, Lisa. I’m glad you shared this article with others. ODC is indeed a common problem, especially when it interferes with everyday life. Several years ago, I heard the late Dr. James D. Kennedy (preacher in FL) talk about “turning lemons into lemonade.” That’s what I was thinking about when I wrote this article. BTW, I like your inspiring blog. God is good. Blessings!

      1. lisaclewis

        I’m all for turning lemons into lemonade. I’m glad you liked my blog. God is great and I would love for everyone to have a personal relationship with him. Bless you too.


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