Apricots and Wolfsbane, Writing Tip

When Your Hobby Becomes A Job

Writing is my escape. Under a blanket with my laptop, I can go anywhere, be anyone. For countless nights, from behind my humble keyboard, I dreamed of publishing a book. And now that it’s happening, I’ve found my “hobby” is less relaxing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving every minute of this new adventure. Every time I get an e-mail from my publisher, a little part of me still stares at it in disbelief.

But suddenly I had the pressures of deadlines, the burden of being creative on the clock. My writing “to-do” list grew longer than my list of house chores. At times, my sudden second job became more stressful than my days at NASA. I often found myself calculating how many pages I needed to edit each night to make a deadline, staring at the clock – Did it really take me an hour to edit that one page?

My outlet for anxiety, my relaxation method, quickly became the source of my stress.

To cope, I learned to take breaks. To power off the laptop for a night and make progress on my to-be-read pile. To relax through other creative means: I edited family picture books and played around with video editing.

But through all the anxiety, I remembered to step back and take a breath. I’m publishing a book! And in 43 days! I want to savor every moment of this dream coming true, since I know it’s only for a fleeting moment.

At this point, there are no more editorial letters or notes to address. The cover is designed. In a few months, I know the requests for guest blogs will decline. Eventually it will just be me once again with my laptop, writing under a blanket, hoping I’ll be lucky enough to do this all again.

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