Monday, Monday….


This blog is supposed to have an emphasis on writing, the writing life, and fantasy writing. It’s supposed to let fans and writers in on who we are and how we write and how we live. It’s supposed to be about our real lives and our fantasy worlds and characters. It’s supposed to be fun. Intellectually, I know that. But…

I think I made a mistake in volunteering to blog on Mondays. I thought that writing this blog would kick-start my week, force me to use my brain, and make me think about writing first thing. So far, that ain’t working too great. And the reason for that is not the blog itself, but that I have new project…

People who know me well, and the amount of stress I put on myself are rolling their eyes. To friends, the obvious question is – So what else is new?

There was a time when I pulled 94 hour weeks by writing one book a year, working (for the benefits) fulltime, being on the national board for Mystery Writers of America (MWA), and being the Regional President of Southeast Mystery Writers of America (SEMWA), and working with a small writing group four hours a week. After three years, stress got to me. I had to cut back.

I stopped my MWA and SEMWA work, and that freed up 20 hours a week, gave me free time and less stress, yea!!! At which point, I accepted contracts to that required me to write two books a year for three years. And I still kept the job. Back to 90+ hour weeks, more stress, yada, yada.

Those contracts are up in six months. So, now I want to change directions again – to get rid of stress, right? Riiight…. I am trying to develop a writing program for South Carolina’s most financially challenged, economically underprivileged, deprived schools, a program that will utilize commercially published writers to go into the schools that need it most: the ones with the highest dropout rate and the lowest test scores. And that means writing the program, testing it out, and getting grants to fund it for three years. Sigh…

I’ve been traveling and talking to VIPS in the state and creating the lesson plans and talking to South Carolina writers who might want to help. Meanwhile, I have two books and two short stories and the fiction for a role playing game to turn by June 1. And I’m still working fulltime. Oh… And I have this blog and three other blogs… Not complaining, mind you. I did it to myself. But here’s where this blog is going: Most writers I know are workaholics. That is the life of being a writer—working all the time, even when we are resting. But mostly not resting. Mostly filling our time with deadlines and tight schedules.  On purpose.

Misty dances to relieve stress and because she loves it, and that means deadlines and more deadlines. Catie, like me, seems to accept contracts for more than one book a year. David has young children and travels a lot and is into music and photography. I bet you money we almost never lie in a hammock and sip a drink and watch the clouds go by. We forget to smell the roses – unless roses are written into a scene and we smell them in memory. We forget to rest and revive. We forget to do…well…do nothing. 


I’m challenging myself right now, to pick one hour this week when I will do something restful and fun that is just for me. I’ll try to remember to tell you about next Monday. When I blog again. And hey, I just rediscovered how important this blog is to my week. So — do you guys (my fellow bloggers and our readers, too) ever do the hammock thing? What do you do that is restful, involves no deadlines, and restores your soul? Do you *ever* take a whole day off to do *nothing*? Just curious.




11 comments to Monday, Monday….

  • Once a year, the week immediately after school is out, I go to Edisto Beach with my parents, my guys and my sister. For one week, I lay in the sun. play in the ocean and do nothing that can be construed as grownup behavior. I don’t wear makeup. I don’t care how my hair looks. I wear shorts over a bathing suit every day, even when we go to the store. I read books I’ve been saving. I eat ice cream, dill pickles and tortilla chips, and I don’t worry about the calories.

    And when I come home, I feel as if I have completely restored my energy and joy reserves for another year.

  • I ususlly try to take a power nap of about 10-15 minutes during the day. It really helps to charge my batteries and freshen me up for the after lunch doldrums.

    Now that the warm weather has returned, my wife and I go out yard sale-ing in different parts of town each saturday morning followed by afternoon trips to a Kentucky State Park for dinner at the lodges.

    That is majorly refreshing to me and allows me to gear up for my 96 hour workweek. :-\

  • There is no rest for the wicked.

    I mean, yeah, sometimes I take a day off, but I usually feel at least vaguely guilty about it. The only real vacation I’ve had in years was to Hawaii 3 years ago, and during that time I did both active writing and hammered out ideas for two series, based on stuff we learned while visiting museums and things.

    One of my huge, major, significant goals for the next few years is to not take on a million new book contracts and to instead take some well-deserved down time. If I can figure out how. :p


  • Raven Blackwell

    What do _I_ do. Becsides gamemastering role playing games I also have veg out days in which there is nothing but me and the random desire. Sometimes I read the day. Sometimes a take a bus to somewhere hundreds of miles away, just to see it. Because I can. Of course, I only write part-time but I do work full-time plus a lot of other assorted duties so it’s not all lesiure. Hmm- I think I am incapable of doing nothing for too long. Even if it’s not prodcutive, I have to be doing _something_. ;>

  • I envy Misty. I envy Raven. I envy Mark, tho I blanch at the 96 hr weeks. Those 2 extra hours sound quite daunting. But I totally understand Catie. Sounds like my idea of a vacation. Catie, are we stupid to be so driven? What is it about us that makes us this way?

    2008 is going to be a year when I relax. Somehow. Somewhen. In fact, I’ll copy Misty and Raven. I … *gulp* I am going to take a vacation. A… rest.


    *Bright idea* and *tax write off.* Whoowhoo!

    Catie, I’ll vacation at Myrtle Beach! During the week of the SCWW conference. We can visit! We can go have coffee! We can talk about books and stuff!
    For an hour. Only an hour. After all, I will be on vacation.
    Yeah, riiiiight.

  • I use my photography time as rest, as battery recharging. I also exercise for an hour or so every morning, and during the spring I use that hour to hike and take pictures (it often stretches to two hours). Later in the spring I’ll use that hour to birdwatch, which also soothes my soul. I take weekends off, mostly. When it comes right down to it, I’m not a workaholic. Sorry. I feel like I should be. But I do my work, I meet my deadlines, and I say “no” when I need to. As it is, my life is still crazy with work, community stuff, kid stuff, family stuff, house stuff, etc. But I enjoy my down time too much to give it up. I could probably make more money and be more successful if I were to be more of a workaholic, but I like the balance I’ve found in my life and I have no real desire to change it just now.

  • I have a practically stress free life, unless you count school and now upcoming college. The best thing you can do to totally relax yourself is to go to a massage and just let your body be pampered and then watch some movies and go out for a walk, preferably before all these things.

  • Raven Blackwell

    Faith, I will point out that he recent cut back in down time in my life has been due ot a certain joint project of ours….it’s contangious. ;>

  • *Covering my head at the relaxing lives*
    OMG. You people really know how to live!
    Okay…resolution for today.
    I will work out today (after class I am teaching and before writing).
    Rest today (after workout)
    Get my pages done. I have to write a min of 5.
    And…I am going shopping.
    I will not clean house. So there!
    And Raven — Yes, it is contagious.

  • Faith, excellent topic. You know I’ve remarked quite a few times that I don’t see how you do it all.

    And it’s a timely topic:
    While I was working on two gaming projects this weekend, spending all my “free” time writing and trying to get these things completed to meet deadlines, I asked myself the “Why?”. Certainly, I enjoy writing games, but there are days where I would much rather have some downtime and tv marathons of NCIS, The Closer, or something similar. Or read those stacks of novels that are piling up. Or even get back to writing on my second novel.

    At any rate, I need to plan a downtime weekend soon with the hubby before I lose what’s left of my mind. 🙂

  • Amen to that, SIster!