NaNoFeed: sustainability vs workaholism

It’s now the fourteenth of November, one day short of midpoint. I have written almost 44,000 words — and that’s with two days off. Tuesday and Wednesday I came home from work, laid on the couch (aka recumbent workstation) and vegged on the internets. Then I went to bed and slept more than eight hours.

Not one single word written.

Yesterday on lunch hour, I sat down with my story and created the Scrivener text files for the remaining scenes. I know what’s happening next, and I’m excited about it. And I recognize this particular pause; it’s the still-point at the top of the trajectory, as the thrown ball stops rising and begins to fall toward its target.

On the other hand, I’m a workaholic and this doesn’t sit well with the high-octane goals I’ve set (no less than 5000 words a day).

My NaNo buddies who are in high production mode have all passed me. I run with the Fast Girls and Boys now, the ones who lay out however much road map they’re going to need before November, and then walk it, steadily and passionately, with the discipline of trained athletes — or professional writers. NaNo is a great taste of the writing life: what does it feel like to write every day? what does it feel like to organize the rest of your life around getting writing done? That doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring my day job, friends, relatives, etc.  It means that I am thinking all the time about where the writing spots live in my calendar, and keeping those appointments as if they were “real work.”

In September and October, I got into the habit of writing regularly. I set up Monday night pro write-in (with day job buddies working on research papers and local writing colleagues working on their “NaNo off-season” projects). Then there was Tuesday write-in and graphics night by GChat with Mreaouw and the gang at Your Mom’s Basement, followed by Thursday Crap of Dawn write-in 6:30-9:30am (yes, that’s what my mom, a former farm kid, called the wee hours). Thursday night I could generally manage another hour or two.

Friday was recovery day from the day job. Now it’s another write-in.

Over the last month or so, I’ve been out sick from work several times as the virus locally known as the Bug of Doom works its way through my home town. This week, I’ve been out sick from writing, and that’s OK.

You have to call in sick to the job from time to time to sustain health over time. The demon of workaholism is just as dangerous as the demon of sloth.

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3 Responses to NaNoFeed: sustainability vs workaholism

  1. Jean Lamb says:

    Oh, hells yes! I know that I typically fall over with a cold after the Wonderful! Hyper! Last few chapters! of a first draft. My body says lie down, I say, “achoo!”

    But that dang old day job, that has to go (someday). I can maintain a pretty steady pace of 2K a day and still get lots of stuff done if I didn’t have the day job. Of course, the check is pretty nice…

  2. epbeaumont says:

    Aside from the check, a day job that’s not entirely soul-sucking has the advantage of putting on the pressure to get writing done during writing time. My past day jobs have included work for consulting firms. That taught me the notion of billable time (by the quarter-hour) as well as great compartmentalization skills (mentally shunting Client B to the waiting room while I get work done for Client A).

  3. Anna says:

    I find sleep to be the best inspiration – For everything! Proper cognitive functioning is pretty important 🙂

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