Workaholics not so anonymous

by Alexandra Sokoloff

I don’t have a problem.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to say. Easy to say because this is America, where hard work (note that it’s “hard” work, not “easy” work)  is not just rewarded, it’s canonized.  Easy to say because “all my friends do it.” Easy to say because people all around you would kill to have your career, so you should be grateful. Easy to say because IT WORKS.

Writing is my job. No one supports me—I do this for a living. And I do make a living at it, which all my life I was told couldn’t happen. Well, I’ve made it work for pretty much my whole adult life.

So I never thought I had a problem. Why should I think that? In Hollywood, workaholism is the job description. You better love it, want it, because you’re going to be doing it every waking hour, and by the way, who told you you needed eight hours of sleep? Workaholism is the standard for Los Angeles; ambitious people from all over the country, all over the world, come here since to “make it” and that’s created a whole culture of ambition—and workaholism. I’ve been immersed in it so long it was the only thing I knew. It was a huge shock to live in the South and be surrounded by people who didn’t live that way; I felt like I was set on 78 rpm while almost everyone else was on 45.

And writing is one of those things that you can never fully turn off, anyway. Maybe it IS just the job description.

Add to that that given the recession, we’re ALL working too much. All of us who are lucky enough to have jobs, that is, and with so many people who don’t, it’s the last thing you’re going to complain about. All my friends with “real” jobs are working harder than ever before because staffs have been cut everywhere and the staff that remains is expected to pick up the slack. And hey, at least it’s a job. So given the national (world) circumstances, it’s crazy to even bring up the question.  Isn’t it?

Is there such a thing as workaholism, anyway?  It’s not in the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (a crime writer’s favorite light reading), like the other isms. There may be treatment centers for it in California, but then we also have treatment centers for workaholic pets. If you see what I mean.

So – iit’s a time that no one can complain about working, all my friends do it, and it works.

And yet… I think I have a problem.

I don’t know what exactly to do about it. You can stop alcohol and pills and gambling and Internet porn. You can reprogram food binging. You can’t quit work cold turkey.

But I’m not naive about treatment for this things. I was a functioning anorexic for a while (another “ism” that’s easy to dismiss if you’re rewarded for it). Never to the point of hospitalization, but certainly flirting with the deep end.

So how did I get out of it? I didn’t seek treatment, but it was about that time that I started practicing yoga and meditation (which I didn’t know at the time is considered one of the most effective treatments for anorexia), and some in-depth journaling (therapeutic writing instead of professional writing). The obsession faded, maybe to be replaced with work – although the work was already there.

So I know the treatment for balance is more yoga, more meditation, more “self-care”, as a therapist would say.

This is all coming up because I’ve been working my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, as I mentioned in the discussion here on Monday.  I’d been aware of Cameron’s creativity books and workshops for years, but I never knew that she used principles of recovery to break through creative blocks. There’s some serious healing to be had in that book.

And this week I got to a chapter on workaholism (and other blocks to creativity).  Well, I’d been with the program up until then, but workaholism as a block to creativity? That does’t even make sense.

She poses a list of questions entiled The Awful Truth which begins:

1. Tell the truth. What habit do you have that gets in the way of your creativity?

I read that and scoffed. Is she kidding? I’m creative 12 hours a day. I have so many creative projects going I can’t keep them straight.  I have four book contracts, two spec books, I’ve got the first book up in my new e-book business, I’ll have the second up next week….


I see.


2. Tell the truth. What do you think might be a problem? It is.

Okay, so my problem is overextension. Yes, it is a problem.

3. What do you plan to do about the habit or problem?

So here we are. I can’t stop working, and I have no idea what I am going to do about the problem, but I have taken the first step. I’ve admitted I have a problem.

And my question is (Tell the truth:) Do you? 

Here’s an interesting tidbit for discussion. Professor Bryan Robinson, a major researcher in this field, identifies four kinds of workaholics:

– Savoring Workaholics, (low work initiation, low work completion, high procrastination)

– Attention Deficit Workaholics (high work initiation, low work completion, high procrastination)

– Bulimic Workaholics (high work completion)

– Relentless Workaholics (high work completion).

I haven’t been able to find more complete definitions, but certainly I am familiar with the low work completion/high work completion gap. Busyness is not working, as far as I’m concerned; the only work that counts is the work that gets finished. So I’m definitely not one of the first two. I can’t figure out what a Bulimic workaholic would be, which maybe means I am one, but I think relentless is more apt.

Anyway, thought I’d throw that in there.

But what do you guys think? Is workaholism just part of a writer’s job description, or a serious behavioral dysfunction? Is it a problem, but better than the alternative? Is it okay as long as it works?

Anyone out there have anything to confess?

And even if none of this applies to you, do you think that we’re quietly headed for a national problem because the recession is forcing all working people to overwork?

– Alex

56 thoughts on “Workaholics not so anonymous

  1. Gar Haywood


    Terrific post. But I should be so lucky as to be a workaholic of any kind. I'll write about my struggles with an anemic work ethic in a future post of my own, but suffice it to say for now, I both admire and envy your ability to buckle down and do what's necessary to build a successful writing career day in and day out. Nobody can ever say you don't deserve every single moment of success that comes your way, and that's got to be pretty cool thought to wake up to every morning.

  2. Alexandra Sokoloff

    I've heard of that word, Alafair. 😉

    My problem is I say No a lot, which makes me think I'm good at it when actually I have a problem saying no to the things I really should be saying no to. But that's getting a little better.

  3. Allison Brennan

    It's too early for me to think about my problems. I know I have many. Now you have me thinking, again. Damn. But on a positive note, I have a TOTALLY different blog for tomorrow. Our psychic connection was severed this weekend. Maybe next time!

  4. Alexandra Sokoloff

    LOL, Allison! Maybe we should switch days once in a while so you get first crack on whatever topic our collective unconscious seizes on.

    But on the overwork topic, you're one of those people I can always look at and think – Well, I'm not the ONLY one… 😉

  5. Linda Rodriguez

    Great post! I wonder if the Bulimic Workaholic isn't one who pours out lots of work in spasms interspersed with inactivity? I've known people like that. Who am I kidding? Sometimes I think I am like that. Except I really fit under the Relentless heading, I suspect. I'm trying to learn to turn things off on occasion for some relaxation.

    And I agree with Alafair about the word "NO." Very difficult word to learn. But hey, it will free up more time to concentrate on… work.

  6. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Yes, Louise, but maybe that's the trap! I get positive reinforcement for my workaholism and so am able to fool myself that I have no problem. Maybe I'm afraid to commit to just one project.

    But every time I say that, I am faced with the reality that multiple projects are what allow myself to support myself writing.

  7. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    You know, I was more of a workaholic when I had a full-time day job and was writing my novels after hours, on weekends, holidays and vacations.

    And then I quit the day job and now I'm lucky if I put in an eight-hour work day writing. I'm having a hard time pushing myself to do more. I think it's because I just got fed up with over-working myself, watching the days tick by where I don't get to play with my kids. I told my boys things would get easier when I left the day job, I told them I'd have more time to spend with them. And I'm doing so. Because they'll be teenagers soon, and then they'll be out of the house, and there will be plenty of time for me to go back to being a workaholic.

    And…I want to enjoy this writing stuff. I don't want it to just be a career, a grind. If I want a grind I'll go back to selling lighting fixtures. It would be nice if I could increase my output. But I tell myself I'm learning every day, observing things, moving forward a few steps at a time.

    I spent a year at one of the top schools for jazz in the country, North Texas State University (now called the University of North Texas) where all the students are absolutely insane in their ambition and talent, and I heard one of the instructors tell his class, "Why are you all in such a hurry? Slow down, take your time, enjoy your lives." While I've been ambitious all my life, I think I've managed to pull back from total workaholism.

  8. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Linda, that's brilliant, makes total sense. I was getting hung up on the idea that Bulimic workaholics were getting pleasure out of purging. But what you're talking about it binge working.

    Okay, then definitely, I'm not a Bulimic workaholic, if periods of inactivity are part of the syndrome.

    Thanks for coming out. It feels better to talk about it, anyway.

  9. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Steve, if you ask me, you deserve a break and you're making the most of your time. Your jazz teacher would be proud.

    This is what I want to do, pull back from the brink.

  10. Paula R.

    Great post, Alex, and wonderful discussion ladies. I'm not sure if I have a problem that fits under the ones specified in the post. In terms of writing, I have very little output, except for when responding on blogs….lol!!! I am blocked by FEAR of doing the "wrong" thing, which really debilitates me.

    In my day job, I would fall into the category of one who is overworked due to lack of enough teachers to educate our students. I need to think on this some more and see if I could come up with some answers.

    Alex, I love that book. When I took acting classes, it was one of the recommended reads for me. Have a great rest of the day ladies. Will check back later.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  11. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Now, that's exactly what I'm talking about, Paula. The work that teachers do puts the rest of us to shame – what the hell is there to complain about?

    And it's getting worse and worse for you all, with all the budget cuts.

    But the fear thing – that's another "ism" – perfectionism. The best lesson I learned in theater is that there is no such thing as perfect. I think every artist has to get over that hump.

    It's an amazing book, isn't it?

  12. Fran

    Alex, can you take off a whole 24 hour period without working? Can you go from, say, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. without doing one work-related thing? Maybe spend a whole day and night doing something indulgent for you: yoga, meditation, dancing, lunch and dinner with friends, lazing in a hammock listening to music or reading somebody else's work? Without saying "Sure I can, after I finish XXX or once QQQ is done"?

    Learning to say "No" to others is good, but learning to tell yourself "No" is supremely hard. What a great, thought-provoking post!

  13. Alexandra Sokoloff

    No, Fran, that's exactly the thing – I haven't done that in ages. I've cleverly arranged my work life so that it includes wonderful junkets to beautiful places for conferences or workshops where I can hang out and play with my friends and soak in hot tubs and play by the beach and go dancing. It is deliriously fun and I I love it and would never try to tell anyone that I don't have a great life – but it is never not work-related.

    The idea of one whole unworking day has become inconceivable. That is the problem.

  14. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Alex

    Compared to the rest of the 'Rati crew, I fear I fall into the category of shirker ;-]

    There has always been a culture over here in the UK of martyred workaholicism. People who stagger into work even when they're dripping with cold and don't manage to achieve anything other than spreading their germs around to everyone else. People who daren't leave before the rest of their office because otherwise they might be seen as not being a team player and therefore be first in the firing line when the cuts come. Whatever happened to 'work smart, not hard'?

    Writing creates its own level, and I really don't think you can compare your own output to anyone else's. Yes, some people manage to put out 10,000 words a day on a regular basis. But if that's not your natural rhythm, trying to force yourself into it will only result in deep unhappiness. A friend of mine was told by a well-known writer on a course that anyone who didn't produce 2000 words a day was 'lazy'. My friend has suffered from feelings of inadequacy ever since, as 2k a day is outside the realms of possibility when jugglied with a full-time job, a long commute, and anything resembling a life.

  15. lil Gluckstern

    The question is are you happy or do you feel you "should" be doing something else, or not in this case. To me, life has its rhythms and as I get older, it gets a little slower, but I'm still "busy" doing different things that I love. Sometimes, i wish I was busier. I like being active. All the olisms have to do with not feeling rich and good inside, but compulsive and driven. This is a thought provoking, interesting post.

  16. Paula R.

    It is a great book, Alex! I need to hunt it down now…lol!!!

    That "ism" is the best one…perfectionism….what we all strive for. I wish that term never existed…we should all strive for "normalism". Life would be so much simpler then, or would it? Hmmm…

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  17. Alexandra Sokoloff

    That's an interesting variation, Z, the "martyred workaholic". You couldn't get away with that in Hollywood; there's plenty of denial of illness and spreading germs but trying to make other people feel sorry for you for working won't fly because everyone else is as overworked as you are.

    I don't believe quantity equals quality – with books the opposite seems to be much more true. That's why I have this nagging feeling that I need to clear my slate to focus on just one thing. And maybe one on the side.

    It's a question of how soon I can actually GET that clear.

  18. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Those are great questions, Lil. I guess to a certain extent I am self-medicating with work because of grief from recent losses. Work is comfortable and keeps me outside myself AND makes me feel like I'm not so lost. On one hand I should cut myself some slack and be comforted where I can get it. On the other hand, I know there's a point at which all of this becomes a dangerous routine.

  19. Alexandra Sokoloff

    But Paula, it's not true that we all strive for perfection. At least those of us who have done improv don't!

    Rigid control would just kill a scene; it's the first thing that has to go.

  20. David Corbett


    Well, you've sucked me down your insightful, thought-provoking, damn near life-changing rathole on another Saturday morning. (Rati-hole?) In the immortal words of Randy Newman: I'd kill you if I didn't love you so much.

    Early on in my writing career, I worked with Tom Jenks, who edited Hemingway's last unfinished MS (THE GARDEN OF EDEN), and his core notion was: Why write if you're not trying to create a masterpiece? Andrew Gross also studied with Tom and was paralyzed by that standard; he's become a best seller since discarding it.

    For better or worse, I embraced it, and have tried to write THE GREAT AMERICAN CRIME NOVEL with every book. As a result, I've had to accept a double failure — I've written no masterpieces (or if I have, I didn't get the memo), and have achieved no popular success to make up for it. I'm damn proud of my books, don't get me wrong. But that standard creates in me an incredible hurdle that makes difficult the necessary fumbling and failure and messy muck-ups that are part and parcel of creativity.

    Like you, I'm juggling numerous projects right now, and the hectic nature of that makes it difficult to sink down into the dark inner silence where true creativity dwells. That silence (the artist's "inner cave") is by nature forbidding and scary because it's where the unknown dwells, It's where our secrets and fears — and thus our strength and courage — dwell. It's rejuvenating and terrifying. One doesn't just dip in and dip out.

    I'm busy, I'm even productive. But am I truly creative? Sometimes. But not often enough.

    My sweet thing is a documentary filmmaker for TV, and the pace is killing her. In my last post, I talked about the "impromptu experiment in sociopathic narcissism commonly referred to as the economy." Competition doesn't always produce excellence; sometimes it just produces stress. I think people are frazzled and frantic. And scared. Fear is a great motivator for some people. For others it's a soul killer.

    And yet there's no way out that I can see. Except to allow for less "success" than others might have, and to nurture whatever inwardness and/or connectedness you can manage each day.

    And there's always single malt.

    Now — I really do have to get to the farmer's market. Diet is so important to the workaholic.

    Corbett (The Man Who Puts the Rat in Murderati)

  21. L.J. Sellers

    I'm a workaholic too, and I love most of what I do. Although it's interesting that you brought this up now, because I've been feeling a lot of pressure lately…to write faster, do more networking/blogging, engage readers more, be more creative, etc. The fiction market is very competitive, and I'm sure most of us feel we can't afford to slack off, even for a day.

  22. Reine

    OK, Alex. I'll see your OCD to the Nth and raise it with my hypergraphia. Don't be fooled by this brevity. Busy on other devices writing follow-up articles for the beeb.

  23. JT Ellison

    Oh, I love this. I was thinking about a post very much related to this – I am going to go write it right now.

    I think I fall somewhere between the bulimic and the relentless workaholic. The problem is I'm always busy, but I'm not always creating. I'm starting to have a real problem with that. I've mentioned here before I traded one addiction for another – smoking for Internet. I got fat, lazy, completely absorbed in worlds not my own, and ultimately, much less creative. I've been trying to pull out of that hole ever since.

    I don't know how much of our workaholic nature is driven by the relentless promotion we all suddenly feel we must do. But since story comes first, and we all do a lot of reading and typing, there's a disconnect. I know that if my creative brain isn't working, I'll write blog posts, redesign my website, update Facebook… anything that makes me feel like I'm doing "book" work so I at least have a hand in. When what I really SHOULD do is shut the damn computer off and go read a book.

    Working on that also.

  24. Alexandra Sokoloff

    "I'm busy, I'm even productive. But am I truly creative? Sometimes. But not often enough."

    That truly sums it up, David. It's hard to get to that inner cave for just one project, let alone multiples.

  25. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Hi LJ !!! I'm so glad you brought this up. This "write faster" thing… yes, we're all trying to make a living, but it seems to me there are WAY too many first drafts out there these days. I know my own books don't get anywhere near to a satisfying read until my 5th or 6th.

  26. Alexandra Sokoloff

    JT – OH how well I understand trading one addiction for another. For several years I was completely addicted to Writers Guild politics. There is no other way to say it. I want those years back!!

    "Turn off the computer and go read a damn book" is probably the best prescription for all of us.

    Can't wait for your blog on it all!

  27. Jenni

    I LOVE the Artist's Way – I've even got my kids working out of that book.

    I have periods of intense workaholism until my brain decides it's all too much, and I then have days following that where I lack focus. I have had a tendency to throw myself into work when I'm going through any sort of personal crisis. I always call it "work therapy." Much easier to throw myself into a job than face whatever the issue of the day is. It's kept me from falling apart many times. And working in law, I've always been prone to overworking.

    BUT you're right that with the current economy a lot of employers are taking advantage – I worked for an insurance company a couple of years ago when the economy first collapsed that treated its employees like indentured servants. We were expected to work a lot of overtime without pay in order to keep up with our insane case loads. I had over 180 cases at any given time and was constantly preparing at least 3 a week for trial. It was insane pressure. One of the attorneys even took several boxes of files with her on her honeymoon. It was one of the worst jobs I've ever had ever. And I resented the fact that they were constantly threatening our jobs and telling us if we didn't like it we could go join the unemployment lines. It was the straw that broke the camel's back for me and pushed me to go back to school and find another job. So there is a point when over-worked people break and have to do something else. (Luckily, I now work in a firm that treats its employees decently, and no one yells at or swears at us or threatens us. It's actually given me hope that I can enjoy being a paralegal again.)

    The thing is, I think your body and brain get to a point where they just don't want to handle the stress of work-aholism and will shut down, whether you want that to happen or not. That lack of focus will creep in, or you'll end up with a never-ending cold, or you'll start making heaps of mistakes. If you're not able to shut the work off, your body will find a way to do it for you, and sometimes with more drastic consequences. Much better to actively find "balance" – whether through exercise or meditation or art or scheduling regular breaks into your calendar throughout each day, so that you don't end up in a hospital bed wondering how you let that happen.

  28. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Jenni, I do the same thing in the midst of personal crises. And that's a horrible story about your former job, but I bet it's happening everywhere. Even if the threat isn't overt, I can imagine there's a climate of fear. out there.

    Well, who am I kidding – there's a climate of fear here, too.

    Exercise is always part of my routine, but I've been pretty compulsive about that, too!

  29. Jenni

    Thanks, Alexandra. I'm earning less, but it is worth it to have less stress and a better working atmosphere. Health is worth more than money. I exercise, but not as regularly as I should. Now I need to work on developing a compulsion for that!

  30. Reine

    Jenni, I think that's the haboob effect when a wall forms against resistance and pushes across the desert. The clutter it leaves behind causes more work but keeps us going.

    So Alex. You're folding?

  31. Reine

    Back when I was living at the med school, before I had nighttime breathing assist, I would wake up at four in the morning. Would look out my window across the quad and see all the lights in the students' rooms on. Would think, damn I'm such a slacker and walk over to my office to work on my diss. On the way I would run into first-years just returning from the lab. They would greet me with: I know. I know. I'll get some sleep. Or if it was snowing: I know. I know. I'll bundle up. Or if they were sure they would be the first student in the school ever to fail anatomy block: You make me feel like such a slacker. No matter how late I stay at the lab, you are always up and headed to your office.

  32. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Now that's something I will never understand. Overwork med students, deprive them of sleep and what – pray they don't kill anyone or themselves? The most criminally moronic system ever to exist.

  33. billie

    Popping in late in the day but wanted to say that for me balance is the key to everything. I have and can work myself into a complete frenzied mess, and having done it in a big way in the past, I now know the signs that mean I'm starting to spin out and I stop myself from careening onward to that place I know I don't want to go.

    Best thing I ever did was find my dream horse and then the farm. No matter how crazy I get with work, I have to walk out to the barn a number of times a day and every time I do, all the mania of working too much just evaporates. (along with tension, stress, physical ailments, etc.) There have even been days when I am INSIDE spinning out a little and one or the other of the horses will come to a spot where I look out the window and see that regal equine face looking in at me. They know! And they pull me out of it.

    For someone else it might be dancing or gardening or knitting or… whatever. But I think we all need to find that thing on the other end of the fulcrum that helps balance out whatever it is that tends to pull us too far in one direction. None of us come out perfectly balanced – we have to create that mindfully and keep returning to it over and over again.

  34. Reine

    Alex, I know. ". . . pray they don't kill anyone or themselves?" Pathetic is that's what I was there for – to stop the slaughter — without changing the system.

  35. Paula R.

    Alex, that is so true of IMPROV…dead scene if you want imperfection…lol!! I remember my teacher saying the same thing…good times.

    I need to apply that same mentality when it comes to writing. I might have to look into yoga too. It's been recommended by many, and here it is again in your post. Maybe it's a sign.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  36. Reine

    Alex, to be fair – graduate schools, especially the professional variety, select for that quality in the application process. The more selective the program, the more obsessed the student with being on top. Match Day is always hovering overhead. Last November I was talking with a resident who'd matched with one of the most sought after orthopedic residencies in the US. He was afraid he would not find a job after completing the residency. There will always be something for him, because when you demand the best, you get the obsessed.

    Personal Disclosure: The school still deposits a check in my account every month.

  37. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Paula, exactly – just think of your first draft as rehearsal. You have to let a play cook – same with writing. I am reminding myself of this every day right now….

    The answer to "Should I do yoga?" is always YES. 😉

  38. Reine

    Me too. Just got thrown from my wheelchair into wall in garden. Might disappear for awhile. Hope they-re wide awake . . . .

    Walking is highly overrated.
    Reading a book is not.

  39. Linda Rodriguez


    Your student who got the great residency and worried about getting a job afterward may just be realistic. My son and his girlfriend have been stars of a nationally ranked Ph.D. program that usually has a 97% placement rate for its grads. They've already published and presented at national and international conferences. This is their year to start job search. Last year, only one graduate of this program got a job offer. Even the creme de la creme of graduate and professional students are having trouble finding jobs in this economy–after years and years of work and loads of debt. (Son & girlfriend are lucky here since they had complete full-rides.) Your student may actually have real reason to be concerned. Linda

  40. Catherine

    This post speaks loudly to me. I'm trying to find my rhythm… I find anything I am interested in hard to do moderately. If I'm interested I want to immerse myself and poke about endlessly. I love talking, writing, working, connecting just plain wallowing in whatever has captured my fancy. And yes I get rewarded for this…at least initially. I'm trying to find a way to sustain myself over the long term. Otherwise I've had times where I've had my body tell me enough…which frankly frustrates me. Although I'm also a bit grateful that I at least listen to my body. I mentioned to Pari earlier in the week about being kind to herself. This is something I have to remind myself of frequently too.

    I've found I can overt trouble by noticing when my focus is too narrow. I try to incorporate a range of different experiences into my world and give myself time to enjoy them. For the most part it works. Current status… work in progress.

    Must also agree with Bilie. Mindfulness helps. A lot.

  41. Reine

    Linda – much much harder for PhDs. He's set already. Too sore to type politely. Sorry.

  42. Reine

    Thanks, Lil. Just bruises, cuts from adobe wall, bruises, pain. No breaks. No stitches. Chair sitting in corner facing wall. xo R.

  43. KDJames

    Reine, geez, please take care. Hope you heal quickly. (hugs)

    Alex, I know it's very late but it's been that kind of day/week (my daughter has been in town visiting this week and I'm wonderfully distracted). I think there is a huge difference between what you describe as self-imposed workaholicism and the overwork inflicted by current economics. I'm a victim of the latter — coworkers being laid off and their responsibilities being foisted off on others, hours (and pay) being cut, reprimands given for not accomplishing all necessary work in the diminished time allotted. It's horribly frustrating and frankly there's not much incentive, other than personal pride and work ethic, to keep slaving away at such a furious pace. It's exhausting and demoralizing.

    But the work we assign ourselves seems different somehow. If you say it has become a problem for you, I believe you. But I'm feeling a bit wary of your definition of just what the problem is. Honestly, I'm not convinced cutting back or doing less is the right solution for you. I've been in a room with you a time or three and it's like watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with his nose cranked up to full power. You give off so much energy, I'm not sure what would happen if you tried to tamp it down. Implosion, at the least. So messy, that.

    I'm now having awful visions of a scaled back version of you, on an even keel, plodding along with one careful measured foot in front of the other, never too high, never too low, always mindful of creative balance, taking on only those projects that fit comfortably into your calendar, never stretching beyond your comfort zone, never pushing yourself, trying very hard to keep an equal tension on all the reins in your hands so none of the horses have a chance to pull away and run wild… it's fucking depressing.

    You have so much energy that it's intimidating to those of us who are more laid back and functioning at a mere dizzying 45 RPMs. And while I can absolutely believe you feel a need to better FOCUS that energy into specific things and perhaps re-prioritize your goals, I will never believe that it's healthy for you to curtail your efforts or cut back on the sheer power you throw into your work. It exists and it has to go somewhere. Some people just need to function at that level. I suspect you're one of them. I know I'm not. Re-direct that power until it arcs and fires in a way that suits you, but don't try to restrict the flow of energy by telling yourself you've become a workaholic who needs to slow down. There are faster and far less painful ways of killing yourself. None of which I recommend.

  44. PD Martin

    Mmm…workaholic. Kind of…I mean I am over-stretched and over-committed. And definitely juggling too much. My daughter is 4 years old and I'm very aware of the fact that next year she starts school. You only have the preschool years once! Although I do think it's harder when you work from home than when you go into a job 3 days a week.

    And fiction is definitely getting more competitive – should I be writing, blogging, on Facebook, researching or doing corporate work that will actually bring some instant $ into the family??

    I do have a definitely '-holic' problem…sugar! My sweet tooth is ferocious.


  45. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Reine, admit it, you were drag racing again. You have to be more careful, sweetie.

    KD. I am thrilled that that's your perception, but you know you only see me when I'm ON. When I'm writing I shuffle around half-dressed and brooding just like any other writer.

    You're right about having to put the energy somewhere, though. I think things won't feel so overwhelming once I'm past some of this new e book stuff; it pretty much has doubled my work load.

    I really appreciate everyone's great comments yesterday; I feel like I've got a much better handle on what's been bothering me. You guys are great!

  46. Alexandra Sokoloff

    PD, it's interesting that you feel fiction has gotten more competitive. I wonder… has it, or is that just our perception because of all the blogging, FB, and everything else you list?

  47. Reine

    Okay. Yes. Drag raving. Backwards. Down a curvy pathway. Not heeding Kendall's frantic warning dance. Mistaking it for joy. xoxoR.

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