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I’m Bad at Taking Time Off: Confessions of a Workaholic

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I don’t identify as the classic type-A workaholic/perfectionist personality, but I’m a self professed workaholic. In school, I was the kid who actually used study hall to do homework. I loved the proficiency and having my afternoons and weekends free.

This habit didn’t always carry into my adult life. Before I started freelancing (and eventually transitioned into indie publishing) I’d put in just enough effort at jobs not to be noticed in good or bad light.

Now, I wake up on a morning I was planning to sleep in with a thunderstorm raging outside. I’m annoyed with mother nature and sit down at the computer to work. Then it hits me I finished the first draft of Claiming the Shaman yesterday. It’s now off with my editor for the first rounds of edits. I planned to take today and tomorrow off before starting another book or to work on the cover of the one I just finished. Sitting down this morning annoyed and ready to work I realized that somehow over the last nine years of being a a professional writer first in freelance and then in indie publishing I’ve become a tried and true workaholic. (See this blog as proof. I needed to write something this morning or my routine would be broken. Not working makes me antsy.)

I started freelance (and some ghostwriting) writing when I was 21. A weird set of circumstances brought me to it at a time of need. (That’s a story for another blog.) Then, I got addicted. I mean, I always wrote or had a story running in my head for as long as I can remember. In high school, I thought I’d eventually publish if I could. That was back before indie publishing was what it is now. But life went on and eventually I wrote less and less until I started freelancing.

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Eventually, after years of freelancing it wasn’t enough to write what others wanted me to write. No, I needed to tell my stories. I’ve written under a few different pen names over the years until I found a genre I really loved and didn’t get bored of. I’m a Gemini so bored is my number one enemy. Is that why I’m a workaholic? Maybe. Likely at least partially.

Now, almost everyday I write. I have to. It’s like breathing. In fact, it was my lack of writing over the fall/winter of 2018 that let me know something was indeed wrong with my health. I was always too tired to write. Friends told me it was burnout. Others said I was depressed. They were all wrong, but it wasn’t until my random exhaustion kept me away from the keyboard that I told my doctor about it. I figured with my luck I was probably dying. Morbid? Nah. Practical. Or so I thought. Mostly, I need to quit smoking (something I”m still struggling with) and my vitamin D was super low. I should have guessed given the symptoms, but there was a reason I became a writer and not a doctor.

Recently, I took my last medical dose of vitamin D. I’m feeling better than ever even if I’m still smoking about a pack a week when people piss me off. Why didn’t I go to the doctor sooner? Well, two reasons really. Okay, three: The first, the circumstances that led me to freelancing also left me with a distrust of most doctors. Two: I have an over active imagination. I was sure he was going to tell me I was dying. I had some sort of rare disease eating away at me. Probably related to smoking. The third: I needed to work. I didn’t want to take the time off my schedule to call and make an appointment. Then have to keep the appointment and take a morning off. Then take another morning off for blood work results and a follow up. I probably lost more time by not calling the doctor, but hindsight, you know. Eventually, I did, but not until writing 1k words a day was a problem for me. Yeah, that’s the reason I thought I was dying. Moral of the story is get your vitamin D checked before you need to. lol

Now, I’m starting a daily vitamin and made a few lifestyle changes to assure that’s not going to happen again. But it also made me realize I’m a workaholic. I write most days of the week. I am for 3k+ on those days now that I’m back to myself. I usually end up somewhere between 4.5-6k words a day. I take Tuesdays off for errands, but usually squeeze in some work anyway.

Now, with all of that said: I don’t hate my job. I love what I do. I love sitting down at the keyboard and pouring my heart out into a story. Sure, some days are harder than others. Some scenes more belligerent than others. But at the end of the day, I want to write. I want to write more than I want to play video games or have that extra time to do whatever it is people want me to do. The thing is I probably work about 4-5 hours most days. Even if I worked everyday I’d be working less than a traditional full time position. So, when people tell me I work too much I always roll my eyes. Yes, I’m a workaholic, because I don’t know how to start the day by doing nothing. No, I’m not a workaholic because I work too much.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’ll be off writing a few more blogs to schedule so my brain believes I squeezed in a decent word count.

 

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