The Discipline of Relaxing

I’m not disciplined enough to take time off.

It’s embarrassing to even admit it, but it’s true.  Yesterday Ann Wayman posted a great short (and therefore to the point) article on the importance of being disciplined enough to know when to pull back and take a break. And I totally agree with her- it’s a much needed practice that reflects dedication to furthering my career.

And as much as I know I need to to it, I know intellectually that it’s the best thing for me to do in order to keep my sanity, I don’t do it.  Or when I do, I sit around with a guilty feeling that I need to be doing something “productive.”

And even if it’s the bugaboo of watching TV like a slug, I have this feeling that even than needs to be productive. I should find some great truth in some dialogue on the TV that would make a great blog post.  Or on a freelance project that I’m working on.  Or something.  On and on and on….

To be perfectly honest, when I first started working as a freelancer, I knew that working like the maniac my bosses wanted me to be would be my biggest flaw.  I was terrified that I and I alone would work myself to the ground and I wouldn’t be able to stand up to myself and tell myself to knock it off and give me a break.

Take this week, for example.  I had a long list of posts all written and scheduled.  The blog was on auto.  I’d already sent a short ebook off to a copy editor for a second set of eyes.  And for a while at least I’d stopped obsessing about changing my design on the blog.

So I really should’ve been prepared to kick back with some episodes of Animal Cops Houston.

Instead, I got a great inspiration for the book I want to write for National Novel Writing Month this year.  Now, don’t get me wrong, having several months’ worth of advance planning is great, and any fiction writer knows that when you get inspiration you have to start jotting ideas down before the muse takes off and hits the guy down the street.

What was so bad was that I felt relieved for having something to do.

I think I’m going to have to take the drastic step of having to plan some down time.  Like one day out of the week when I don’t have anything writing or work related to do.

That’s hard because:

  1. What I now do “for work” is what I used to do for “fun,” which means I really should take up acrylics soon or I’ll need a new hobby.
  2. I think I get a machosistic thrill out of working myself to the bone and then bragging about how hard I work.

Sigh.  Is there a support group for workaholic freelancers?

Anybody else have a hard time being disciplined enough to relax (fercryingoutloud)?





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  1. A lovely thoughtful post – I’m writing a blog feature on English Wedding now, about time and stress management for brides. It links to all kinds of different articles and I think yours is a refreshing and inspirational read. Claire x
    Claire – English Wedding blog recently posted..Exquisitely elegant – a wedding at Kew Gardens

  2. Thanks, Claire! I’m heading over there right now. I got my link post done last night, and I scheduled it for next week. It’s full of articles from other people about success and happiness.


  1. [...] I mentioned that I got an inspiration for the book I want to write in the frenzied insanity that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNo).  Now, the bad [...]

  2. […] I mentioned that I got an inspiration for the book I want to write in the frenzied insanity that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNo).  Now, the bad […]

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