Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When Writing is Work

I have a confession to make: it's hard for me to be able to take a "day off." If I'm at home with free time, I find it nearly impossible to not feel the insatiable need to write, simply because the work ethic is so deeply ingrained in me.

It doesn't matter that I've just finished a manuscript. I can't edit it without my CP's notes, so I find myself with a conundrum: Either I can take a break, or I can start another manuscript because taking a break is like wasting time to me, even if it's not and I know it isn't. Writers need to read to recharge, to let their creative juices get a break, to let their emotions simmer.

And yet, no matter what stage I'm at in writing, I find it nearly impossible to take a break and read. I have books piled on my desk, lining my shelves, all waiting for me to get to them. And I want to get to them, to read them and swoon or laugh or get really, really angry. But no matter what I do, as soon as I sit down to read, I ask myself why I'm "wasting time." Why I'm not taking this free time I have to write another manuscript.

It goes full circle, again and again and again, and nothing I seem to do breaks that vicious cycle. Even if I feel burned out, or tired, or like the manuscript I'm beginning is going to be a hard one to write for reasons I don't even know.

Do you ever feel that way? Like no matter how hard you work, you just HAVE to keep plugging away, HAVE to keep working, HAVE to be doing something that seems "productive"? It's so frustrating. And if you do, how do you trick your mind into letting you take a break?

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