“Have any exciting plans this weekend?”
“Looking forward to a lazy weekend?”
“Did you have a relaxing weekend?”
My very polite coworkers and friends have been asking me questions like this every Friday and Monday since my professional writing life began. Almost everyone I know in the real world work on weekdays and spend weekends doing … well, nothing.
Which is great — I’m happy for them. Everyone needs and deserves downtime and valuable moments away from their work lives. Work is stressful. You can’t do it all the time.
I am not one of these people. Maybe you aren’t, either.
At my day job, I write anywhere from four to six articles per weekday. I’m also usually writing at least one blog post either before my workday begins or immediately after it ends. That’s a lot of writing even if you don’t count the occasional other tasks I often volunteer for throughout the average week.
In other words, weeks are busy. They don’t leave a lot of time for novel-writing or blogging or anything else I might want to work on that isn’t technically work.
When do I do these extra tasks, then? On the weekends, of course.
A quiet Saturday morning has become one of the most valuable things throughout a given week for me. If I have even three uninterrupted hours to sit down and crank out three or four thousand words (either spread across different projects or all for the same one), I’m good to go.
I am judged for this constantly. I’m accused of not relaxing enough or working too much, of not giving myself enough time for “me” things. Don’t get me wrong — I appreciate the people who love and care about me enough to voice their concerns. But they just don’t get it. They still don’t get it.
First of all, when a writer feels motivated to write — as I almost always do at 6 a.m. on a Saturday — they’re not going to pass up the chance to write if they don’t have to. Most writers have to jump at these inspiration-filled opportunities, because they don’t always come as often as we’d like them to.
Secondly, I don’t know about you, but I don’t need 48 straight hours of down time every single week. I’m good with two or three hours of “me time” every night. I get bored when I just sit around. My mind starts buzzing.
Just because we’re constantly in motion — physically or creatively — doesn’t mean we’re miserable. Actually, many of us prefer it this way. Creating makes us feel fulfilled. It makes many of us feel alive in a way “doing nothing” can’t.
And finally, letting us do our work when we want to do it means we’re going to enjoy the time away from work we do take even more. If you don’t have to drag us away from our work to spend quality time with us right this second, don’t. We want to spend time with you too. Just … not yet. Let us get some of this story out of our heads really quick so we can give you the full attention you deserve.
Yeah, our brains are kind of weird, and we don’t always follow a normal schedule or seem to operate the way other people do. But that’s what makes us who we are.
Let us have our weekends, or our evenings, or our very early mornings. Let us have our creative time, so that we can set aside time for you too. Be patient with us. Give us space. And know that we’re probably doing OK. We promise.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.