Writing between the hours of 9 and 5 is really difficult for me. And it’s taken me six years as a professional, full-time writer to recognize that it’s sort of a problem.
How it has always worked before is that I spent the almighty Designated Working Hours doing all of the writing tasks that are not writing: emailing, scheduling interviews, conducting interviews, editing, researching, invoicing, etc., etc. Actual writing was reserved for the couch, after hours or on the weekends. So that’s what I did.
Having grown up in a small tourist town in Northern Michigan, Memorial Day weekend has always been a different experience for me and mine. Tawasians don’t leave town for three-day weekends. Not only are we already in the kind of place most of the country is escaping to, but often, we work on Memorial Day. A town can’t close down when half the state is visiting. Plus, there’s invariably some parade of indiscernible tone happening that you have to be in or organize or attend.
Brigid Schule’s book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time just blew my effing mind. From the fact that constant stress and overwhelm causes our brains to physically shrink (something of which I am already in constant fear) to the revelation that women have been virtually conditioned away from leisure for all of human history, it’s overflowing with information that is both so personal and logical you feel like you’ve known it all along and so revolutionary you are apt to want to change everything about the way to do everything. It’s a good book. You should read it. It contains things important for every employee, employer, woman, spouse and parent should know to be better at being any of those things.
A major takeaway for me as a freelancer, however, was the concept of the ideal worker that permeates American work culture, and the startling realization that we freelancers, who have every reason to not ascribe to it, self-impose it all the same.