Friday, March 2, 2012

Today's Treat: If Writing is Your Job...

Today's Treat is my new Friday segment in which we look at the two basic fundamentals of:

1) treating yourself like a writer a
2) putting yourself in situations where others will treat you like a writer.

Readers of this blog know that this week was a tough one for me.  I was having a difficult time balancing life (my real job, social engagements, cooking, cleaning, race training, etc) with my writing.  This caused me to have a "freak out" in which I didn't get anything done.  I was paralyzed.  Therefore, I posted asking for advice on how to deal with this.  (Anyone notice that I posted the Wednesday's Weigh In on Tuesday??  I was that mixed up this week!!!)

Many of you suggested that I make writing a priority and treat it like my job.  It was also suggested that I find any little time available (while commuting, before bed, in bed, in the shower etc) to write so that those writing projects get done.  These are great suggestions, but...I am going to take the opposite approach for Today's Treat. 

If you are going to treat yourself as a writer and therefore treat writing as your need to find time to "clock out".  Otherwise you run the danger of being a "workaholic".  What would you think if someone close to you was constantly answering emails from work, checking work related stuff on the internet and doing work?  In bed, on the way to work, in the middle of the night...not healthy!

I propose we take a stand right now to deem some areas of our life sacred.  These areas are places where working is not acceptable.  Yes, creativity comes to us at weird times...I know the shower always does this for me.  But write it down and then move on.  Come back to it during regular business hours.

Working constantly is not healthy...even if you love your work.  For your own health and for the loved ones around you...take time to take care of you. 

I took a hard look at my schedule this week and I assigned ONE writing project for each day.  Therefore, I am sure that everything will get done in its time...but I can also rest assured that I am not overworked and overwhelmed.  I also deemed after 6pm (evenings and dinner time) as sacred.  Once my boyfriend comes home from work my work day is over.  If I have any creative flashes during this time I will note them on paper and move on.  The evenings and dinner will be my time to unwind.

My challenge for you this week is to carve out some time in your busy schedule as "sacred"...meaning NO WRITING!  Maybe if you are feeling incredibly overwhelmed or scattered you could actually benefit from a "personal day"...or as we used to call it at my career job, "a mental health day".  But in any case, taking a break from work can actually fuel the work you do when its time.

Perhaps for you its mornings or afternoons or all day Saturday.  But find that time.  Then and only then are you treating writing as a REAL job.

When can you take time this week?  Please share your thoughts below.


  1. It's interesting that you posted about this - a subject which just seems to have become a big deal in my house. I get so absorbed I don't realize how absorbed I am. So I am making a real effort not to work from dinner on or on weekends. I won't be able to do it completely, but I'm really going to try. Because you're right - we all need a break. And I think our work will be fresher and more efficient if we take a break from it. You know how they say you will take as much time as you have to get something done? It's really true!

    1. I just realize how I would feel if my boyfriend could not "turn off" work. However, for some reason we think its ok to do this with our job because it is creative and for the most part we enjoy it. But it is soooo important to not lose yourself. To find balance. Sometimes you have to stop working and eat dinner or watch a movie...or God forbid, clean the toilet! I am starting to think it is not as "noble" as we seem to think it is to neglect these things in the name of our writing.

  2. I found this post really interesting, too. I also have a full-time job outside of my children's writing, plus all the other responsibilities that come with being a mom and a wife. I have to admit that I almost always work on either my job or my writing in the evenings and on the weekends. It is so hard to turn it off, especially with a strong drive to finish new manuscripts, keep up with blogs, etc. I am constantly struggling!! I think it really takes a lot of work to find the balance that is right for you. I'm still trying to find it!

    1. I hear ya, Kerry. Perhaps start with one hour...and give yourself permission to be flexible with what hour that is. :)

  3. My husband started a business and I started writing full-time. We both have become workaholics. I actually took Wednesday off (too clear my mind) and went out with a friend then had a date with my husband and it was wonderful. On the way home we talked about how we both had quit working out and going out with friends. The house is a mess. We never used to be this way. Our biggest problem is we don't have regular hours. I'm in the process of creating a schedule and figuring out which projects to drop. I agree there is no reason the toilet should be dirty etc! A writing friend shared a interesting video of an author who sets herself two pages a day and when she is done she doesn't write anymore. The hard part is letting go!

  4. This is so good, Marci! It's always a challenge for me to balance writing with family. Even tho' I homeschool two teens, and they are independent, I still find myself brushing them off so I can go to my Victorian sitting room to write. I must be careful to put their needs and that of my husband's before mine. They've never commented on it, but I'm sure they can sense my preoccupation. I will try to be more attentive...thanks for the reminder!

  5. I think I'm guilty of being a workaholic lately - LOL!

  6. This is very interesting! I never thought of us going about our writing jobs as workaholics, but looking at it, we really do. We work on it at all hours of the day, never knowing when we'll be telling someone "I'm sorry, I'm too busy writing." Weekends are my biggest time to get things done, but I'm going to try to give myself 1 - 2 hours in the middle of the day (when hubby is at work) to unwind and do something for me (writing and cleaning house are not allowed to be included). Great challenge!