We are in a business where we feel we need to work 24/7. Spending time doing nothing or just hanging out with family and friends feels like a guilty pleasure and one we shouldn’t be allowed. If you’re a writer you think you should be writing, and an agent feels that time away from the office is time that should be spent reading client or other submissions. And email only makes this worse.
It wasn’t too long ago that a client apologized to me for not responding to the email I sent on Saturday. She was at the water park with her family. Imagine that? Apologizing for spending a weekend day with your family! Is it just us or is it the world we live in?
Let me tell you something. We all need to remind ourselves that downtime is equally important to working time. It’s where we come up with our best ideas and it’s when our brains recharge for more efficient and better work. If we don’t have time with our families, to curl up with a good book that has nothing to do with research, or to just veg out in front of the TV, we won’t be the best we can be. So if you can’t write a book every 3 to 6 months without giving up all sense of a “life,” you shouldn’t be writing a book every 3 to 6 months. If I miss out on a new client because I had to have a vacation, I missed out on a new client. You’ll be just as successful if you write a book every 12 months (as long as they are all the best book you can write) and I’ll be just as successful when I am the first to move on that next client.
I’ll admit I’m horrible at not working. I have a manuscript with me at all times and will make notes during dinner for new blog entries, revisions suggestions for authors, or even fresh book ideas. I can’t turn it off and I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay to have a day here and there where I just don’t work. And that’s what this blog is for. To help remind all of us that it’s okay to not work.