You are probably wondering what OCS is. It’s a coined diagnosis my husband gave me a while back. It stands for Only Child Syndrome.
OCS sufferers are used to getting their way. Without siblings to compete with, you ask for a new toy and get it, primarily because mom can afford one toy just not 2 or 3. You are used to the undivided attention of your parents; “Mommy look at me.” They are inclined to give you those few minutes because dear brother or sister won’t be there saying, “No mommy, look at me instead!”
So how can I say all authors suffer from OCS? Not every author is an only child, I’ll bet quite a few had siblings. But OCS affects authors in a different way.
An author, who has spent months, maybe even years developing their characters, writing their story; wants NOTHING more than to share that story with others. Being an author is like being a secret agent. You can’t discuss your secret adventures until you are done being that secret agent, until the story is finished.
But then, once the story is done, everything you’ve held back, every conversation, every adventure, every emotion you personally went through while writing that story is exploding to get out. You want to share that story with friends, family, your neighbors, that old guy down the street – anyone!
So you do.
What do you want back? Reviews? “Oh that was a good story.” No! – You want conversation. You want to discuss that story – in depth. You want them to ask you how you came up with that scene, how you described those emotions so completely. You want to tell them all about how you and your alternate personalities hid in a closed room and duked it out. How you experienced those emotions yourself, over and over again because you had to write it down and you didn’t want to skip any little detail.
You want to go to book fairs and signings and talk about that book over and over again with anyone who will listen. You’ll find yourself going to a party and talking about your book. You find yourself out shopping telling the clerk behind the counter about your story. The waiter, the taxi driver, anyone. It’s ALL about your story, your Only Child.
You find in time, that friends tend to skirt around you or past you. They don’t want to hear about the story again. They don’t want to go over in detail this chapter or that. They start avoiding you. Even authors with the largest families will begin to feel alone and isolated. You continue telling strangers, about your story, but it doesn’t “do it” for you anymore.
That’s when another story begins. That’s when you return to the keyboard and start typing out your next story. You escape into your world, become a new character and do it all over again. You’ve become an Only Child – and as an only child, you must keep yourself occupied. You have no one to play with except your own imagination. And so you do. And thus, another story is born.
…so show an author you cared, by asking them about their book. It’s what we live for… That, and writing!