It’s hard to confess to others when you’re just not writing. It’s even harder when you have to confess it to yourself. (Point to note, I have been writing, I have been editing, but I have also been feeling guilty for those hours in the day when I haven’t been doing either of those things).

I suspect that this might just be me, or people like me, who struggle with this confession. And by people like me, I mean those of us who like to metaphorically self-flagellate, who feel guilt for no apparent reason, who pile pressure upon ourselves because, you know, life would be far, far too easy otherwise.

Also, I’m a workaholic. I have an addiction.

My lovely, patient partner pointed this out to me not so long ago, by sharing an article with me that she had read. She let me read it, absorb it, allowed the reality to sink in and then, very kindly, but firmly, said that she recognised these traits in me. I had no other choice but to agree.

Work addiction is hard, just like any other addiction. Don’t get me wrong, I can relax (kinda), but it’s always tempered by that vague feeling that unless I am actually achieving something with that relaxation (other forms of creativity, learning something, reading something, exercising and so on), I feel like I have wasted my time. Yes, I can binge-watch The Queen’s Gambit like anyone else (wasn’t that fantastic?!), but the undercurrent of ‘you should be…’ or ‘you ought to be…’ is always there. Coupled with anxiety, which is also a struggle of mine and voila, welcome to my frenetic world.

Add to the mix that I am working through editing Anti-Virus and the ‘should’ and ‘ought’ are amplified by an image of my protagonist, Callie, waiting at the place I last left her, arms folded with an eyebrow raised so high it makes my forehead hurt. She’s a member of the Security Services and whilst her life isn’t what it used to be when she was undercover back in the day, she’s a tough character. I don’t want to piss her off. The struggle is real, people.

One way I manage my addiction is by being very strict with myself. I know from experience that if I am not, things (the various aspects of the addiction) run away with me. So I set myself a specific time limit. I am going to write/edit between X o’clock and Y o’clock. Then I will go out for a walk. Then I will make my lunch. Then I will… you get the picture. It doesn’t stop the guilt for not continually writing, but it does mean I manage my mental health. I know what I am like at full pelt, giving into the nagging demon, the little liar that creates this false guilt, and it’s quite ugly, both for me and for my nearest and dearest.

In the fine tradition of twelve step groups, let me introduce myself. My name is Freya, and I’m a workaholic. But I haven’t got time to talk to you about it now because I just need to do this one thing first…

5 thoughts on “Downtime

  1. Yeah Know What You
    Mean Writing 3650 Days
    Consecutively in 10
    Years 12 Million Words
    8.7 Million Words of
    Free Verse Poetry
    In the Last 87
    Months With
    14,033 Miles of
    Public Dance I’m
    A Playaholic And
    Still Workaholic
    Too As i Also
    Keep Count
    But i Am
    But Now Doing
    This Already
    Hehe but
    I’m Still
    An ‘Accountant’😜

    1. I had a feeling you might respond to this… it’s a blessing and a curse isn’t it? But we welding be who we are without it (although it would be nice to find out, just for once, what true relaxation feels like).

      1. Hehe i’m 60
        Been Like this
        My Entire Life
        If Not in Flow
        Just Stuck in
        Dull Mud
        But hey
        The Monkey
        Who Stops
        Either The
        Never Ending
        Play The Work
        The Never Ending
        Story of Breath
        For Now
        At Least
        Eternally Now
        But Hey if not
        No Sistine Chapel
        Paintings And the
        Such for no
        But the Intrinsic
        Flow Regulating
        Emotions Integrating
        Senses Literally Therapy
        That For me At Least now
        Resolves all the Negative
        Issues of Bi-Polar
        And Asperger’s
        A Tight Rope
        Dance But the
        ‘Folks’ Who
        On me
        That it Works
        As i Surely Didn’t
        Have A Solution
        In 66 Months
        As A Shut-in
        In my Home
        It’s Balance
        For me
        In Autotelic
        Flow As Far
        As i Will See From
        The Perspective
        Of Hell
        Heaven Within
        The Curse That
        Becomes Feather Light
        Gift Dust In The Wind Still
        A Tight
        NoW iN
        I’ve Seen The
        Rest of Nature
        Do it True too
        Might As
        Well Smile
        Doing it Thank
        You Freya From
        The dVerse Trail
        Hehe i Grew A Bit
        Too big to
        With SMiLes
        Makes it Easier
        Being Invisible too☺️

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