Confessions of a recovering workaholic

Hi, my name is Anna.  It’s been twenty-two days since I started slacking off…

That’s how this post starts, as that is truly how I’ve been feeling since 2013 began.  Today I went to Capitola, took too many shots of the beach.  Recently I got a new phone, a smartphone, my first.  It has an eight megapixel camera; if I could have gotten a phone sans internet with that good of a camera, I would have.  Unfortunately that doesn’t exist, but it was handy to send my eldest a text from the beach, and a picture to go along with it.

All photos taken today with a Nokia Lumia, 8 megapixels.

All photos taken today with a Nokia Lumia.

Going to the beach happened a lot more often when I wasn’t publishing, but I’ve had my nose to the monitor long before I released The War On Emily Dickinson.  I documented a year of intense scribbling that had little to do with anything more than pumping out first drafts and poking around just a wee bit at other novels.  Part of my previous doggedness was that I am so blessed to not work outside the house.  I was a SAHM, now I’m a SAHWife.  But just because I’m here all day (when not at the beach) doesn’t mean I’m eating bons-bons and watching TV.  My butt has been in the chair solidly since 2008; five years of writing novels, editing novels, publishing novels.  I think I’m due for a rest.

But it’s hard pulling myself away from the project at hand.  Or what comes with publishing; The Timeless Nature of Patience was shipped to Apple on 5 January, has yet to appear.  I wrote to Smashwords last week, received a reply yesterday that Apple doesn’t like the word ‘free’ at the beginning of the book.  I was requested to remove it, upload the new version, then write back to the customer service representative so she could reship it to Apple.  Well, the only place where ‘free’ is written is within the Smashwords License Notes, right after the book’s title.  I spent yesterday reading through Timeless Nature, searching for any typos; if I have to upload it again, it might as well be without glitches.

But today I wanted to try out the new camera.  After breakfast and a few chores around the house, I loaded up my bag; folder for the courageous idea, phone, iPod (which I will use as my media center), headphones, scarf, extra shirt, as it was supposed to be quite pleasant at the beach.  Part of the fun is the drive itself; I crank the tunes, sing at the top of my lungs, pretend I’m the guest of the week on Top Gear, trying out the Reasonably Priced Car.  (I tend not to dawdle on Highway 17 heading to the water.)

Meanwhile, as I’m just minding my own business, trying to not work, another novel idea pops into my head, not fair!  Over coffee and biscotti at Gayle’s in Capitola, I wrote some notes; we’ll see how that idea settles.  But once that was done (the work never ends), I gathered my bits, and drove to The Hook.  The day had warmed nicely; I removed the sweater, put on a light long-sleeved shirt, grabbed the phone, heading to the water.  Unlike last week, the tide was relatively high, but by my return to the car park, it was waning; low tide was supposed to be at about two p.m.

I still haven’t heard from Smashwords if I need to change the license notes, but I certainly enjoyed my outing.  And I’m thinking about what it means to make time for oneself that has nothing, or as little as possible, to do with the work.  The work, my my my…  Until only recently, I had not realized how pervasive the work had become.

It’s not work for which I am compensated monetarily.  It’s not work for which I punch a time card.  It’s nothing more than all that sits within my soul that isn’t connected to my husband and family.  It’s very tethered to God, in that there is no way on earth I could do this without divine guidance.  However, it is still up to little old me to GET IT DONE.  Git’r done, as my dad would say.

Dogs

So, since 2008, I’ve been writing and revising and plotting my poor old brain to not quite mush, but close.  Now having pulled back the reins, letting the horse have a gentle trot, dude!  It feels…  Strange, liberating, a little like playing hooky.  I know why I’ve pushed myself; what else should I be doing?  I am not the type to sit on my hands; even while watching football this past weekend, I was crocheting, in part to keep my fingers busy, and to not watch every single frame of movement.  I’m good at peeking up just as the ball is hiked.  But then back under my glasses went my eyes, double stitch after double stitch.

I don’t like to dawdle on roadways or at home.

But now the brakes are definitely on; I’ve been farting around all month, for me.  Yes, I’ve read over Penny Angel twice, I’ve read through most of Timeless Nature once.  I’ve been plotting Forever of One Heart (which at this point means making the playlist and mumbling plenty of story to myself).  Now I have another idea to consider, plus I’ve been tweaking the playlist for A Normal Life Book 3, which I think I might write in April for Camp NaNo.  It’s not like I’ve been lounging on the sofa all month.

Surfers

Well, I did last week when I wasn’t feeling so great.  And it drove me positively NUTS!  I can’t stand being idle; it’s like napping.  I hate taking naps, oh jeez, makes me cranky to even think about it.  And I have no idea why I am this way, maybe homeschooling the kids?  That took a lot of work on everyone’s part, and since I was the planner, well, you see where this is going.  We homeschooled for nine of our eleven years in England, then moved back here, putting our son and youngest daughter into American high school.  Which was okay, education-wise, for them.  It was bizarre for me; so much time, what to do with it all?

As you can guess, I started writing.  Well, I started editing my first NaNo project, which ended up being published in 2009 by a small press.  But by January 2008, I had four novels written, was on my way.  And for the last five years, I haven’t quit.

It’s funny, thinking back on our return to America; so many things changed.  I returned to my native state having written a novel, with no clue to what that actually meant.  It meant my arm was twisted by my eldest to participate in NaNoWriMo, then many years later I’m at the beach, texting with her, sending photographs, thinking about the latest story idea.  Maybe that’s why I’ve not slowed down previously.  I have more plots than sense.

Maybe not as many plots as beach pictures, but I’m starting to see my forty-seventh year in the distance, and time is short.  Sure I might live to one hundred five, or I might kick off a whole lot sooner.  But I have so much I want to express, many ideas before I sleep.  That was just one of the reasons I went indie, but it is one of the biggest to spur my workaholism.  Yet, I am fully aware that what needs to be written, revised, then released will be written, revised, then released.  I am very thankful for my faith, not just to keep me going, but to steer me in another direction, like over Highway 17, to Gayle’s for a latte and biscotti.  Yes, I wrote out the basis for a novel while sitting there, but afterwards I left that folder in my car, picked up a phone that is probably smarter than me.  Then I headed west from the car park, to the edge of forever.  I am a writer, no question about it.  I’m also just a gal who loves the ocean.  I love the water, my husband and kids, football, crocheting, blogging, chocolate, and English tea, with a little milk.

I think I’ll make myself a cuppa right now.  There is no time like the moment, and it’s not always about writing and publishing.

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About Anna Scott Graham

I'm an independent poet and novelist in addition to sharing my life with a wonderful man, various kids, several hummingbirds, and a plethora of plants inside and out. View all posts by Anna Scott Graham

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