There is a difference between obsessions and passions. I have tried to explain this to my husband but the subtlety of it eludes him. Obsession is a brief and fleeting thing that completely sucks all your time for the period in which it enslaves you. It overpowers everything else. A passion is something that you love, that brings great joy, that lasts over time and through trials. It is something that coexists with your life and makes it better.
I'd like to say reading is a passion for me, and overall that is probably true. It is something I love that brings joy, something I have loved since I was very little. But reading a book is an obsession. When I am in the midst of a good book, I can't put it down. I can't get dinner on the table on time, or carry on a conversation, or fold laundry. Life stops until the book is done. That is why I have to temper my reading sometimes, and why I read in spurts and then have to take a break.
Writing is a passion. I love to write, but I can put it down most of the time. Sometimes I get obsessed with it, when I am in the middle of a scene that won't let me go. But for the most part, writing enhances my life, and we live together happily.
Photography, though, is another matter. And not just photography, but more specifically, lately, cameras. I want a new camera. I need a new camera. I am officially obsessed with new cameras. I'm actually even dreaming all night about cameras. I spent the last few days of my writing time looking and drooling over the camera I want and all the photos from other photographers who use this camera. I have made lists of what I need, and where I can get it, and price options. I have researched the companies who sell what I want. I have memorized the extensive specifications. I know why it is better than a hundred other cameras I could have. I have talked my husband's ear off until I think he is faking sleep to get me to stop. Dinners are late. Laundry is wet. The house is a mess. My book all but came to a screeching halt. My DVR is full. This has to stop.
I am once again writing, and today I forced myself not to look at any camera websites. I am like an alcoholic staying away from even the smell of alcohol. I wrote today on my book, again, a lot. It felt good. But now there is a lull in the day, this brief time when I can't focus long enough to write more on the book, but time enough to check email. And then I think, I'll just check and see if there are any new deals. But I'm not going to .... I can't. Or I will fall into it again. I know how the addict feels: even abstaining doesn't mean you are cured. The draw is still there. The need for it is still there. I want it as badly as anything I have wanted (other than an agent) in a long time. I can justify why I need it, and how I can make money off it. I know it is an obsession. I've tried to stop and I can't. Even now, in being good and not giving in to my urge to shop online, I am still writing about it.
I need serious help.