This past Friday night, I made the conscious decision to disconnect on weekends.
Since January 2011, I have worked every day of the week except for 3 days -- the day before my daughter's wedding, her wedding day, and the day after.
On those days that I worked, trying to establish myself as a successful indie author, I put in no less than 12 hours each day. Some days I put in many more than twelve. Readers, you have no idea how much hard work goes into writing a book not to mention publishing the book yourself.
I started to unwind from that manic pace after my daughter's wedding. I promised my husband that I would take more time off. That's when I added audio books into my already busy life. In addition to writing and everything else I do, I started working with producers to create audio book editions of each of my best-selling romantic comedy ebooks. I was so naive that I had no idea how much time would go into that pursuit.
More Is More, Not Less
Then I added a home remodel and, at our weekend home, landscaping from the bare ground up, so to speak. Throw in a few family medical emergencies, and I suddenly wasn't having very much fun any more! Not to mention, I wasn't producing very many words either. In fact, I found myself getting downright cranky.
All work and no play makes Joan -- or you -- a dull person. I was writing, blogging, guest blogging, Tweeting, reviewing books, working with audio producers, plotting new books and short stories, researching, learning new skills, keeping up with all the stuff that being self-employed requires, wading through hundreds of emails every day, remodeling a house, installing landscaping, and enjoying life a whole lot less.
Writers if you are reading this and you see yourself, this is the writing on the wall -- or at least on the blog -- telling you to do something about it. Life is meant to be enjoyed.
Yes, I feel pressure from fans eagerly awaiting my next book. Yes, I feel the pressure to market and promote. I have a contractor that I've been delaying for 6 weeks now because I can't stand the disruption of continuing work in the house. I've put off doctor appointments because I'm constantly playing catch-up.
You're Doing It Wrong
This past weekend when we went to our Hill Country getaway, I opened my laptop and just stared at it. Then I made the conscious decision to not work all weekend. Not answer emails. Not Tweet. Not blog. Not write. Not do any of the many online things I do Monday through Friday.
Guess what? I felt more refreshed when I returned Sunday night to welcome house guests at home.
In thinking about all this, I remembered a book I'd heard about The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale
I found the book on Amazon and will go click buy on it in a few minutes. On some website, I saw a quote from this book with the extraordinarily long title that describes me, and probably a great many of you.
Susan Maushart, in The Winter of Our Disconnect: "No one's brain is different enough to make constant interruptions, distractions, and task-switching an optimal environment in which to function. No one's."
I believe Ms. Maushart speaks the truth. Attempting so many disparate tasks, with constant interruptions, every day is draining. Focus and scaling down is my plan for the rest of the year, and part of that plan is to disconnect every weekend from now on.