Once upon a time, before I was a mom, I wrote only for epublishers and my schedule was fairly a set-my-own pace one. Life was busy and I had deadlines, but everything was fairly relaxed. Then I sold to a larger print house and became a mom all at the same time and things became (wonderful!) and a bit more frenetic.
I can still remember the stress I felt in the spring of 2007. My first NY book (Witch Fire) was set to release in June and we were weeks away from traveling to China to adopt our daughter. I was soon to be a new mother to a small child, my first mass market release was nigh, and I was under deadline. I spent most of the extremely long flight to Hong Kong working on Witch Blood.
This was the season when my life went from fa-la-di-dah to boom!di-dah!stress! Of course, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. I love my life, every little bit of it. After we brought our daughter home, I felt a lot like I’d been strapped to a speeding train for a while. Eventually things calmed down into a routine, my“new normal”.
Unfortunately my new normal involved working from dawn to midnight with sizable interruptions throughout. I ended up very little time to decompress, which is not a good thing for your health or creativity. Yet, I really had no choice if I wanted to meet my deadlines.
It has taken me a long time to work my life into a situation where I can get my work done in a large, interrupted span of time and be able to turn off my computer in the late afternoon (and leave it off) to spend some quality time with my family and have a little time to relax.
Uhm, it took me about three years.
And an interesting thing happened when I was finally able to achieve a good work/life balance; I felt guilty whenever I turned the computer off before eleven o’clock at night.
Maybe that’s something that happens to everyone who works at home. Maybe having your office or your laptop in the house makes you feel like you should be working all the time. Or maybe it’s just that I love my job or the fact I’m unreasonably paranoid about not making my deadlines. Whatever the reason, I went through a period when turning off the computer made me feel like I needed to turn it right back on again. Kinda crazy, huh?
It took awhile of shooting down that I should…. every time it popped up. Instead of saying I should work a little more… in my head, I would force myself to say I should relax tonight so I can be fresh in the morning….
These days I have much less of a problem with it than I did before. Now I happily turn off my computer at five or six and take the whole evening off. Sometimes I even take whole weekends off. Go me, right?
Are you a workholic or it is easy for you to leave you job at the office?