For the past year or so, I’ve been doing a pretty good duck impersonation. On the surface, I might appear calm, but underneath I’m madly churning away. In my mind, a chant plays on a constant loop: What should I do next? What should I do next?
Am I really that busy? Probably not. I make myself busy (and crazy) by wanting everything done yesterday. And half-measures won’t cut it. A self-titled imperfect perfectionist, I put unnecessary pressure on myself.
A lot of that pressure started when I sold my first book, last spring. Suddenly I had to have a social media presence. I had to tweet and post and promote myself. None of that came easily to me and I didn’t do a good job of it.
About a month after my book came out, I started a new job. Five days week, six hours a day. Not terribly long hours and I really enjoyed the work, although by its nature (and mine) it came with an emotional cost. Add that to my computer time, my writing time, my family time, and then combine it with my various minor health issues all deciding to flare up at once, and I was a walking zombie. The only thing worse than the debilitating exhaustion was the incredible physical pain. My social media presence, lacking as it already was, dropped to nil. So did my writing. I tried not to let family time suffer, but it did.
Lucky for me, I have an understanding boss. First we cut my hours from six to five. Despite this, my health issues didn’t settle down and the pain really wore me out. So we went from a five-hour day to four. That wasn’t a fix, because the volume of work required more than four hours, so I grew increasingly stressed trying to do everything in the shortened timeframe. My weekends went by in a blur of chores. What I really needed was some downtime. Some “me” time.
Towards the end of June I started grappling with the realization I couldn’t continue this way. After losing lots of sleep over it, I reluctantly gave my notice at work. Thankfully my boss and I came up with a solution I’m hoping will work for both of us. As of this month, I’m job-sharing with another lady—she’s smart, experienced and friendly, and will make an excellent fit in our little office.
I haven’t quite started to relax yet. I still have that chant in the back of my mind, but the volume’s getting lower. I still have moments of feeling overwhelmed but I’m confident if I go easier on myself and focus on the important stuff, I’ll regain my bliss.
I’ve done more writing in the past week then I have in the past several months and I feel really good about it. To that end, I plan to post my word count here every Sunday afternoon. It’s a rather rookie routine, but might help my sense of accomplishment. Maybe I’ll also do a blog post, maybe I won’t.
This past week I wrote 2053 words and as of yesterday my wip stands at 27747 words.