I’ve been trying to balance a day job with my writing for almost 10 years now. I’ve tried waking up early and staying up late. I’ve tried writing on the couch, at the kitchen table, in a coffee shop. I’ve sworn off seeing friends in order to reach my word count goals and used their company as a reward for a hard day’s work.
My writing routine has evolved with each new year and each new project. This time around, with just an 18-month window to accomplish more than I ever have at a higher level with even higher stakes, I’ve decided to stop allowing my WIPs to hold me hostage on the weekends.
I know what you’re thinking. If I’m not spending every second of my weekends working on my next book, how can I say that I’m kicking things into high gear? That I’m committed in a way I’ve never been before?
Here’s the thing. I’ve spent 10 years trying and failing to be productive on the weekends. Every Friday I look forward to getting to spend the next two days focused on my own work and every Saturday I wake up resenting the fact that I have to use my time off to write a book that, so far, has only ignited in me a feeling of intense disappointment and self-loathing.
Writing or making art of any kind is HARD. You have to jump through all of these psychological hoops and then bargain with your own emotions, pleading with them to let you get something, anything down on the page while they taunt you with insults and critiques and basically fill your head with the worst things imaginable, all of which you must wrestle and ultimately slay. If you have the tools and the time and the energy, that is.
Putting so much pressure on myself to use every second to write was like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. The harder I tried, the more I failed, and the more I hated myself for it.
So I’ve decided to stop trying.
Not completely and not in regards to the overall vision I’m currently in pursuit of. But as I am becoming more mindful of my own thoughts and how those thoughts become actions, which then become habits, I’m starting to realize that this cycle I’ve been stuck in of: planning to write, not writing, then getting angry and upset about not writing, is just me being a crazy control freak.
Control freaks are the antithesis of who I want to become. Because who I want to become is a person of faith. A person who knows she cannot control every aspect of her life and therefore shouldn’t bother trying because whatever the Universe has cooked up will be ten times better anyway. A person who is not constantly living in the future. A person who does not spend most of her waking hours worrying.
Control freaks spend so much time trying to control every facet of their lives that they don’t actually live it. I want to be a person who lives. Who really lives.
That means Saturdays are for dog walks and grocery runs. For DIY projects and binging shows on Netflix.
That means Sundays are for daydreaming, for planning, for resting. Sundays are for trusting. Sundays are for patience.