I’m often very self-critical when it comes to fitting in writing time. Because it’s the job I want to do, I hate not being able to fit it in every day; as I see so many other writers managing to do.
I currently work in I.T. and have been for the last thirteen years. All the jobs I’ve had in this industry are busy in the extreme. I’ve worked evenings, weekends, gone into the office early, worked through lunch – you get the idea.
The past couple years have been particularly difficult for one reason or another and I’ve reached the point where my stress levels are high and I suffer mild anxiety. For someone with existing mental health issues, this is not an ideal situation.
I made a decision after a crazy January that I wouldn’t again get sucked into the vicious circle of working long hours to try and stay on top of things. I don’t get any thanks or recognition for it and I’m only hurting myself in the process.
As a conscientious person, this is actually quite difficult for me to do. I’m a natural helper, I’m good at my job, I have years of knowledge and experience but these attributes have definitely been taken for granted. I’m stepping back. I get into the office around 8.45am instead of 8.00am. I take an hour for lunch away from my desk, I leave at 5.30pm and I do not log on or check my phone before or after those times.
Sadly however, I have had to drop out of the AmDram production I was due to appear in, in June. My mental state, the exhaustion and lack of energy meant I wasn’t enjoying rehearsals, I couldn’t engage with the material, therefore, was unable to devote 100% which was really unfair on the cast and director.
On a positive note, my evenings and weekends are free. I’m worrying a bit less and hopefully, my stress and anxiety will level out to something more manageable. I don’t have much energy in the evenings so writing time is reserved for the weekend and I’m happy with that. It’s better to be doing something than nothing.
Horizon Skies took six years to complete, it’s been almost a year since I first hawked it out to agents so I do need to get my arse in gear to really polish it and get back out there again.
So, if you’re in a similar position to me and are beating yourself up about your progress – don’t. It’s counterproductive, you’ll feel like crap and lose motivation.
It’s ok to re-evaluate where you are, make those changes and get yourself into a more positive frame of mind. I’m a lot happier now for doing so and it means
My weekends writing are something I enjoy and look forward to as opposed to something I have to get done.
Kick Back, Relax and Enjoy!