Why Is It Harder to Write When I’m Trying to Relax?


Hitting 50,000 words this past Wednesday was kind of, sort of purposeful. While most of you might not do a whole lot of traveling over Thanksgiving, I do. Every year. Aside from my parents and brother, I don’t have family near me. So holidays like this always mean driving south and spending four days completely out of my normal routine.

Which is great. Except when I’ve used up all my prewritten posts and want to come up with something valuable for you to read regardless of how deep I’ve fallen into the relaxation hole.

This one’s very deep. I’ve slowed way down on my word count, which is a huge indicator for me. I’m not very good at relaxing, if you haven’t picked up on that already. I don’t ever feel well when I do. Which is why I do so much writing, to keep myself sane.

When I really take the time to think about it (like I have the past two days), I hate how our society (at least where I live, in the US) is all about work work work. I love work, don’t get me wrong. But ever since I was little, I’ve been conditioned to treat downtime as a luxury, one that I should only indulge in on special occasions like holidays.

So when I do get this time to recharge, I don’t know what to do with it. You would think that all this free time would be the perfect opportunity to get a whole bunch of writing done. You would think.

I worry that when I stop writing, I won’t be able to start again. I worry that if I spend too much time reading for fun or playing Nintendo 64 with my brother (which we do once a year, because why not), I’ll lose interest in my story, which I love. Or I’ll get a hundred new ideas and I just won’t want to go back to the one I’ve been working on.

I don’t think it should be like this. I think we should be allowed to relax as much as we need to, as long as we’re still getting our work done. I don’t know exactly where I learned to associate relaxation with laziness, but I’m not the only one I know who feels this way. Even when I just want to sit down and watch one hour-long show per week on T.V., I’m always doing something else simultaneously while I do it. I’ve tried to incorporate a “rest day” into my week, but as time has gone on, I’ve filled my schedule with so many “things” that I can’t even take a full day off every week.

I hate to use the millennial label here. I was born in the ’90s so I get slapped with all the stereotypes everywhere I turn, and it gets old fast. I’m not lazy, I don’t actually spend that much time on my phone. I’m not entitled to anything I haven’t worked my tail off for.

I don’t know if that’s what you think of when you picture a millennial, but I just don’t fit all pieces of the mold. But I do like to work, I do like to set and achieve goals and I do want to establish my own career. But I don’t expect to be handed anything.

Sorry. I didn’t expect this to turn into that kind of discussion. This is what happens when I turn to straight blogging. If you’re not a fan, I promise we’ll get back to regular posts on Monday. Just bear with me.

I love to write for fun and for work. But I wish so much of my time wasn’t spent always thinking ahead about what I need to do next. After I finish writing this, I’ll probably write a few hundred words and then try to finish reading the last Twilight book (don’t judge me). I probably won’t try to get ahead on more Novelty posts like I planned. I’m just in that zone and, once I’m in, there’s no coming back out until I’m back in my work space.

Do you ever feel like you can’t relax enough? Am I alone here?

Of course it means I’m getting a lot done while I’m not actually working full-time, I’m not sorry about that. But I got so cranky this week because I’d just been working too hard, and after two days of not doing any work, I’m anxious to get back.

Is it going to be like this my whole life? I hope not. I’ve had plenty of post-grad, no-responsibility, as-little-adulting-as-possible time. I’m ready for the real world now. If that means I have to scale back on my writing to pursue other things, fine. But I need to have an excuse to find balance before I can find it. And right now I’m just floating in midair, not really sure what to do.

Until then, I guess I’ll keep writing. It’s what I do. Sometimes it’s going to feel like work, I guess, until something else comes along to take on that role. I can live with that. For now.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of flickr.com.

Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.