Exhaustion

It wasn’t until 4pm today that I realized I hadn’t posted a blog yesterday. I’m not going to lie, I was feeling a bit under the weather again, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff coming up this week, so I need to take care of myself. Mostly, though, I just passed out at the end of the night and was dead to the world for a solid nine hours.

When I was in the workforce full-time, I was working ten hour days, five days a week. If you add my commute time, I basically spent a solid 12 hours a day at work, or traveling to or from I hated it. I hated how, after I accounted for work and sleep, I only had four hours to myself on any given work day. Let’s just say that it was usually the sleep and social life that suffered. There was no work-life balance, which is part of the reason that I was very adamant about leaving. The job was also very physical. I was on my feet for the majority of those ten hours. When I would get off, my feet would be killing me, I’d often be limping, and I didn’t want to do anything where I had to move. For the most part, though, it wasn’t very mentally draining. In my opinion, I felt like a glorified babysitter; as long as no one died and the store didn’t burn down, I was doing my job right. Yes, that is oversimplifying it, but I definitely didn’t have to employ all parts of my brain to do the job. Now that I’ve switch gears, things are different. When I work casually, it’s usually mostly physical, but also the shifts are short, so it doesn’t generally bother me or make me hurt. However, when I spend the day, or even several hours writing, I find that my brain is hurting. I think part of it is because I’m not used to writing or delving into my world as much as I have been lately, but also it’s because my world is so huge and complex. Sure, I’m only working on one story right now, but there are so many moving pieces in it, and then in tying it to Elyria proper. Plus, because I’m someone that likes to know what happens to the characters outside of the story, as I mentioned before, I’m expending extra brainpower on something that I may not even ever use. I’m okay with it, but it’s just killing me a little. Which is why I just crashed last night.

That’s the great thing about focusing on my writing though, and working for myself. When I get exhausted, or when I am having a bad mental health day, I can take it off. I don’t need to feel guilty, or lie, or try to explain to someone why I don’t feel like I can come into work today. I know myself well enough by now to know when I’m falling off the edge and when I need to focus on myself and my well-being. And it’s great that I’m the only one to answer to, because I’m the best boss and I’ll always let me take time off. Granted, I’ll let myself take time off even when I’m not crashing. Ironically, the one thing that has always helped me pull out of downward spirals, or get me out of a funk, is writing, so I really shouldn’t be taking time off. But that’s besides the point.

In good news, I think I am really starting to get into a groove, now that I’ve actually decided to sit down and write regularly. I managed to get quite a bit typed up yesterday as well as add to some older stuff. I’m really feeling like I’m in the zone with this story now. Whereas before I was trying to figure out what I could do to not actually work on my writing, now I’m annoyed that people want to hang out or eat food, because I just want to keep writing. That’s not quite right, because I do want that work-life balance, but it sucks when I just really want to get down to writing and people want to do fun stuff and they invite me out, because I’ll never say no. Still, I’m feeling great about the progress I’ve been making. Soon, I’ll have all the characters and places typed up, and then I’ll be able to move on to shoring up the plot and making sure everything works out. I guess taking that mental health crash last night was a good thing. Who would’ve thought.

Focus

First of all, let’s talk about the elephant in the blog, aka the fact that I didn’t post yesterday. I just felt like crap yesterday and I looked at my computer and was like “nope, not going to happen.” And it’s definitely okay to take days off. I could have pumped something out yesterday, but it would have been drivel. It wouldn’t have been worth reading, in my opinion. Though, sometimes I do question if what I write is work reading at all. I guess where I’m trying to go with this, is that if you have a job and you are sick, you can take a day off. Therefore, why can’t I? I definitely need to prioritize self-care as I try to ramp up with the writing.

On Tuesday, I had a very life focused day, which means I did little to no work. I also misplaced my agenda, which I didn’t realize until I found it today, because I wasn’t really looking to use it yesterday. However, because I had those two “days off” and hadn’t set up my agenda for today, I felt like I was very unfocused. Maybe it’s just the remnants of whatever was messing with my system yesterday, but I could not get honed in on anything for more than fifteen minutes today. It was just not a productive day at all. I felt bored and/or agitated for the majority of the day. I think part of it was because I was having issues with my vlog not exporting, and so that was constantly in the back of my mind. But also, I think it was just a rubbish day for trying to get stuff done. I really want to be either kicking myself in the butt for not accomplishing things, or kicking myself to get stuff done, but it’s definitely not happening today. I need to get focused and I need to get my drive going.

I keep using the excuse that “tomorrow is another day”, but then something always comes up. Next week is a crazy week for me because I have some travel and a wedding to attend, so I don’t foresee myself doing much writing. And then it’s August.

When I first quit my job, my plan was to have June and July off and to write as much as I could in the time period, before maybe looking for a part-time or casual job in August. Well, that didn’t really go as planned and I spent the majority of June doing some casual work, which has continued into July, though at a lesser pace. I’m sure it can continue into August if I want it to, as well. Which would be fine. But I need to focus on writing, which is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I recently mentioned to someone that I’d be okay making very little money a month/a year writing, as long as it was enough that that was all I had to do. Because all I want to do it write. They told me that I could keep writing even if I get a real job and that I should never give up my passion. But that’s not the point. I want to write and somehow make even a tiny little profit to be able to just do that. To have someone ask me what I do for a living a say “I’m an author” and have them ask me what books I’ve written, instead of having to say “I’m trying to be an author” and getting those odd and sometimes sympathetic looks. Then people ask you what your story is about, and it’s always a little hard to explain without giving too much away. Then they just kind of drift away. Maybe soon I’ll have the former. But that all depends on me, doesn’t it?

A Social Life?

After kind of figuring out what works for me in terms of being productive, everything was put on hold by the super social day I had today. I have done nothing in regards to my writing. The only productive things I’ll be able to add to the scoreboard today are writing this post and editing my vlog, though I feel like I may have to redo the latter. Then again, part of why I jumped on this crazy new adventure of mine was because I had no work/life balance and definitely no social life. Which means that I’m okay with having days like this. Plus, I was so amazingly productive yesterday that it makes it okay. I definitely think it’s key that I be willing to work at any time of the day.

When I first set out the terrible routine that I have still yet to adhere to, I had it set up so I would be done working around 4pm, but I just don’t think that’s realistic. I think it’s better to have a list of things I want to accomplish in the day and just make sure that I get them all done by the time the day is over. Basically, I think I need to meld the routine with using my agenda. If I can do that, I think I’ll be well on my way with a formula for success. Right now, though, I’m super excited with anything that manage to get done. I’ve only been out of the real workforce for about two months, and it’s not even fully out of the workforce, because I’ve been reluctantly picking up shifts here and there. But I think it takes a while to adjust from working for someone else, and their expectations, so working for yourself and setting your own expectations. The other day, someone told me about two of their friends who had independently quit the workforce in order to write. It took one of them over a year to get into a groove, and the other one is several months in and still not there. It’s great to hear that, because it helps put things into perspective for me, but I would definitely like to far surpass that one year mark and hopefully be putting out quality content in the next few months. I can only work as hard as I can and hope that that’s enough.