When you decide to work for yourself, people tell you that you need to set aside work hours. You must show up at an appointed time, do your business, and move on. That’s what happens out in the public domain, right? I’ll admit, I have never thrived with a rigid schedule. Now, I know my mother is laughing her head off right now, because I’m such a planner, but hear me out. I’ve had some great jobs working for other people, but I always felt stifled, especially creatively and over time I grew to resent my lack of freedom. Looking back it’s obvious because I wasn’t doing the work I was created to do, however each of those experiences shaped me so I could be ready for where I’m at now. Since I came home over two years ago, I realized I kinda liked the free flowing rhythm of my day, and I got irritated when people messed with it.
About a year ago, I decided to make writing my job. I battled with when to clean the house, do errands, and where to squeeze in some writing before C came home from school. Those were all issues when I worked outside the home, but since I was here and writing wasn’t paying me yet, I felt obligated to get those tasks done first. I scoured books and blog posts about how to set up the best writing schedule. Most writers insisted early morning was the best time to write. I should have known right there that I was going to buck the system. I am not an early riser and can barely think myself into a pair of slippers before seven a.m.
Since August, I’ve loosened the reigns on my work schedule. Who am I kidding, I just let go of the reins! And you know what happened? I finished my novel’s first draft in record time! I found myself drawn to my office and the words tended to show up then too. I released my need for a model home clean house and found I was able to keep up with my chores without being stressed by them. My whole self was flourishing. I worked when the muse moved me, and the more I wrote the more ideas I had. Which, in turn meant I spent more time in the office. The job atmosphere I had been trying to build for months just created itself when I let go.
Being the over achiever that I am, I started to wonder what would happen if I could take this success to the next level–carve out more writing time and increase my productivity. That would get me through this book process faster and onto the next one. Brilliant idea, Kayla! I was so excited I shared my plans with my Spark and Tinder group. They applauded my commitment. Within twenty-four hours I hit a wall. The constraints I put on myself sent my creativity into lock down mode. My brain was so consumed with trying to figure out how to fit everything in there was no room for words. Work became a struggle. My anxiety began to rear its ugly head. Add that to some other things that were floating around in my life at the moment, and I had set the perfect storm for a meltdown. It culminated with being awake most of the last two nights.
Once again, I approached my faithful Spark and Tinder group. They came along side me with encouragement and reminded me there was nothing wrong with what I was doing before. This morning I took a nap after C went to school. I did some reading in The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer (highly recommend to those trying to break free from anxiety), and I spent an hour doing yoga. I interspersed writing in my journal throughout the morning. A few hours of self care, and though I still felt a bit hollow and sore, I was ready to rejoin the world.
1. Sometimes it’s not a good idea to mess with a good thing!
2. Not every formula works for every person. We can read how-to books until our eyes dry out, but at the end of the day we have to embrace what works us. I tend to take snippets from several people’s approaches and cobble my own. This is not only true for my work “schedule”, but also for my writing style and technique, parenting, you get the idea.
Do you abide by a strict work schedule or are you a free spirit?