It just now is hitting me that no matter how much stuff I do every day, there is always more stuff to do. I keep waiting for the day when there won't be any more stuff, when I can relax and do nothing, but the nasty thing just has this propensity to multiply like some kind of an alien virus, slowly and completely, enveloping me in this goo of "You better do it all, or else." Damn it.
I'm supposed to be taking three weeks off between drafts. Ha! You think I did that? Ha! Ha! Ha! I need to laugh here really loud. I took one day off, only one, maybe a couple, and that only when forced by other people to slam my laptop shut and shove it under the pillow and get my ass out of the house. The rest of time...imagine. I WORKED. Meaning, again the same routine when writing: no breaking for weekends, no nothing. And of course I had this huge to-do list that I kept for "later," for when I'm done with the current draft. And now, as I cross off one finished task, I add two more.
Look! There are now PayPal buttons on my site! Oh, but I should make them look better. I should change the wording and make it appear all nice like on all those other book-selling sites.
Look! I have changed the old passwords! Oh, but now I need to delete the old accounts I'm not using. Oh, and it would be great to clean up my current accounts too. Oh, and I need update my profile picture on them.
Look! I'm going to apply for this cool writer's residency thing! Oh, but there are twenty more that I just found by googling residencies. Oh, and now I can publish my blog as Apple News, so I should definitely sign up. Oh, but then I will need to create a logo for my channel.
IT NEVER ENDS.
It's a black hole, folks.
Many of you often ask me how I'm able to find time for writing and reading, especially reading, and I always tell you, "I don't find time. I make time." Because there is never enough time for everything.
Well, guess what. I'll need to apply the same logic to doing nothing. It seems that unless I MAKE time to do nothing between drafts, it won't happen. I have created a day of doing nothing (it's actually on my calendar, so I won't forget) right after the day I finish a draft. But one day is not enough! After two to three months of intensive writing without taking a single day off, one week is only long enough to start decompressing. The week after that I'll be able to really relax. Only I never reach that and then wonder why I'm so tired as soon as I start writing again. I "forget" that I work every single day, it's like all these little annoying things on my to-do list are not work.
The only way I'll be able to do nothing is if I treat it same as my writing and reading time. When I write, I give myself freedom to just write from about 9 AM till about 2 PM. I don't check any messages anywhere, and except some quick research I don't go online. When I read, I give myself freedom to just read for about three hours. I note the time when I start, and until three hours go by (or I read 100 pages), I don't do anything else. Well, maybe I'll share a thought or two here and there, but I get back to reading right away. There is no guilt.
It should work the same for doing nothing, right? Right. I will need to schedule a whole week of doing nothing (what a scary prospect!) or more. Only then I'll be able to truly do it. I tried to be sneaky about it and shift responsibility. I told Royce, "Hey, darling. It would be great to go away to some cabin for like a week or two, without Internet access, you know, so even our phones wouldn't work." He stared at me for some time before answering, "You'd turn off your phone for a whole week??" So you see, I was too chicken to give myself permission to unplug and tried roping Royce into the whole scheme so he'd hold me accountable. We agreed that one day we'll do it. When we can afford it. But I can create for myself the freedom of doing nothing EVEN WITHOUT GOING ANYWHERE.
At this moment of time it's too late, of course. This coming week is packed to the gills with stuff on my calendar, and on June 27th I'm starting Draft 4 of TUBE. But man, if after it's done I fail to take at least a whole week off (and not just one day!), you're permitted to never send me a single sock. For the rest of my life. That should be punishment enough, right? To scare me? I hope so. (My writerly soul will die without new socks, you know that, I'm sure.)