Here's what I'm realizing. Writing really is like "having homework every night for the rest of your life". I could spend all day with my ass glued to my desk chair (or my sofa or my dining room chair or my bed or you get the picture), in front of my laptop writing, reading, learning, gathering information, building my social platform, putting blogs together, researching, planning, pitching agents, etc. The list of things I should be doing is so long I don't even want to make it an actual list anymore. And I LOVE LISTS.
(P.S. I did make a list today. Let's not get crazy here.)
So what have I decided to do? Tackle everything and make a detailed, hour-by-hour schedule, right?
Nope. I'm taking a day off. For the month of August, as a trial, I am going to be doing Screen-Free Sundays. That means no social media, no blogging, no writing on my laptop (journal only!), and no email. Phone will be used for texts and calls only (so old-school).
There's a lot of evidence that taking a day off, even when you're incredibly busy, actually leads to better mental health and more productive working days. The whole concept of the Sabbath, still embraced by Jewish culture and some Christians, is actually incredibly wise.
Taking one day off in a week requires planning. For instance, today is Saturday in Australia, so I am doing extra writing, sending out a few queries to agents, writing up a book review that needs to get done while it's still fresh in my mind, and answering all my emails. That means that tomorrow, I can know that everything is done and the world won't come to an end if I go 24 hours with my laptop shut down.
What's the goal, here? When there's so much to do, why not just take an afternoon off, or an evening, instead of the whole day?
Basically, because I need to quell my addiction. I have gotten so used to flipping open my computer first thing in the morning and scrolling through social media while I eat my breakfast that the idea of reading a book instead or journaling my first thoughts of the day is kind of nice. Plus, I really want to break this habit of -- I've got five minutes, why not check Twitter? The addiction isn't social media, by the way. I'm just addicted to being busy.
Screen-Free Sundays will mean no computer screen and very limited phone screen, but the TV screen will probably continue to be used because my husband and I like to bond by killing monsters in Diablo. So there's that. But Screen-Moderated Sundays doesn't have the same ring to it, so let me have this one, okay?
I don't want to spend my whole life working. I love to write and it's important to me that I do all the things I need to in order to be published, but I'm not going to sacrifice my relationships or my own mental health to do so. What about you?
I'm going to go for it the month of August and I'll report back on my findings. If anyone wants to join in, please feel free to comment or tweet me. Just not on Sundays. And if you're going through withdrawals, just pretend your notebook is a touch screen and your pen is one of those fancy touch screen pens. I'm sure that will help.