Confession time… I’ve been something of a slacker for the last four months. At least, I gave myself a “leave of absence” from my magazine work, starting the last week or so of my sister’s life. After notifying my coordinator and finishing my last assignment in progress, I turned my full attention to getting Sis’s affairs settled.
It isn’t that estate business took all my time. Theoretically, I could still have scheduled interviews and drafted/polished the features. But things would crop up — information to gather and submit, filing deadlines to meet, people to notify, bills to pay and appointments to set up. These tasks often came unexpectedly, and always took longer than you would think. A flexible schedule was a must. Besides, dealing with my sister’s business because she was gone took an emotional toll that would have made it difficult for me to focus on feature writing. My mental health demanded some down time. I could not afford to be over-scheduled.
Bit by bit, the rush jobs and tedious chores got done. By June my schedule had cleared enough for me to truly enjoy the writer’s workshop I attended in Colorado. I returned home, full of inspiration and tools from the workshop. Aside from a few blog posts, though, I never seemed to get around to writing.
My days were now too relaxed… no deadlines, no particular stress, not even a schedule. Each day found me just floating along, dawdling over Facebook, email and — much as I hate to admit it — computer solitaire. Oh, I’d do laundry and fix meals and all, and ride my bike some, but most of my time just got frittered away. Not a scrap of motivation or creativity remained in my head. I still felt as if I could not take on any more tasks… and yet, I wasn’t actually doing anything.
Somebody needed some structure in her life.
Finally I met with Sandra, my awesome coordinator, and invited her to send me a couple of assignments for the next round of magazines. They arrived last night via email. It felt strange but quite satisfying to copy the details into my freelancing schedule and plot the mileage to the subjects’ addresses as I used to do. My email reply to Sandra reads, in part, “It’s good to be back in the saddle. Or the desk chair; whatever…”
I have not even reached the subjects yet to schedule appointments, but I already notice a spring in my step. My to-do list is collecting check marks instead of dust, and ideas have begun to rattle around in my head. (This blog post serves as proof.)
As near as I can figure, except for short vacations, too little structure and stress is as bad as too much. We all need some sense purpose for each day. And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some piles of books to organize, calls to make, errands to run . . .
Thanks for reading,
PS: I’m not the only one who has needed a break. Many of my Soli Deo Gloria sisters can relate, too. You are welcome to click over and see how Jen and friends recharge.