I don’t know if it’s just the incredible humid-hot weather we’ve been having (matched with my roommate’s reluctance to turn on the AC until it’s absolutely necessary) or what, but, lately, I’ve been suffering a crisis of distorted accomplishment. Toward the end of my work day, I start to feel like I’ve squandered everything away, that I haven’t done a thing of value or worth, despite the glaring evidence to the contrary.
Take yesterday, for example. Before noon, I finished typing up the new chapters for Soulless, sent a bunch of font ideas to my cover artist, and started up on the new rewrites for Heartless. I even worked a little bit on the epilogue for Serpent in a Cage, got to the last chapter of a book I’m reading, and made myself a healthy breakfast of veggies and rice. I also cleaned out the cat litter box, took out the trash, and put a good dent in the dishes. Oh, and I did laundry. Then I went ahead and did some more writing and reading for another three hours before I showered and went off to my part-time job for a six hour shift.
By almost all measures, that sounds like a fairly productive day, doesn’t it? Maybe when you lay it all out nice and neat like that, but, to a workaholic, it doesn’t feel like it. And I am definitely a workaholic. In traditional Puritan farm-girl ethics, I’ve always learned to work hard and work well; I’ve been working my butt off for the last thirteen years of my life, and quite a bit before then, too. And most of those thirteen years, I was working two jobs, some of them full time, some of them while also taking full semesters at college or participating in a gazillion extra-cirriculer activities and clubs. Now, at the ripe old age of thirty, I’ve decided to finally channel all that energy and time into what I love to do and turning that into my work. Which provides a pretty interesting Catch-22, because when you love your work, it really doesn’t feel like work at all, and a workaholic is left feeling like she’s been lazy and unproductive.
I thought by now, after several months, I’d be used to it and I’d finally be able to accept that those hours spent writing really is work, but no such luck so far. Maybe, just maybe, when this current project is finished and Soulless is finally out and about, it might be a little different. Then all this work-that-doesn’t-feel-like-work will have a physical result that I can touch and feel and see and think, “Man, I did a good job, all that hard work paid of!”
Until then, I’ll just keep on writing and editing and blogging, commenting and networking and reading, “forcing” myself to take the evenings and Sundays “off.” And reminding myself that, when you do something you truly love, it won’t feel like work, and that’s one of the best things you could ask for in life. Eventually, my brain might catch up with that idea and embrace it. For the time being…well…it’s working on it.