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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

How To Avoid A Meltdown

I started a new telesales job on Sunday and although I love it, so far it has left me feeling rather frazzled. I didn't know I spent so much time writing until I've spent it in my other job working. The job is flexible in the sense I don't have to work set hours, so in theory I still have time for my writing. But like any other normal person (when have I ever considered myself normal?), I want to devote all my energy into this job until I get settled.

But I thought I would still have the time and the inclination to write. And then I realised I'm not superhuman, and yes, I do need an adequate amount of sleep to function. Something has got to give and my big question is what's that going to be?

In order to prevent myself from going absolutely stark raving mad, I decided to write a list. I thought I would use the same strategy as I use to write my books and plan and outline my life so I can see just how much I have to do without feeling like the walls are closing in on me.

It was only when I composed this list did I realise how much stuff I actually do that's not essential. Things like watch television. Who needs a TV to survive? Reading magazines and having coffee with friends. Surfing useless social media sites like Facebook. Feeding and walking the dogs (okay, I'm joking here - I would never neglect my dogs) but my point is I desperately need to prioritise my life more. I do housework every day because of my boyfriend's dust allergy but instead I'll just buy him a dust mask. I also like to read a lot but I guess I can cut down on that as well. All these things do not pay the bills so I need to focus on the stuff that can pay the bills and give that priority.

So, how do you cope when life feels overwhelming?


  1. Writing is not all about writing. You need stuff to write about. A lot of the things you talk about cutting out or back on are either sources of inspiration of opportunities for reflection—who can’t think and clean at the same time? Writers need to read; it’s a law. Okay, maybe when we’re in the throes of a project we might read less so as not to find ourselves mimicking some other author, but that’s about the only exception to the rule. TV I’m a big fan of. I don’t interact much with the outside world and so I miss the kind of external stimulation I used to get at work or simply travelling to and from work. I suppose it depends on what you watch mind. There is a lot of crap available so maybe you simply need to be choosier.

  2. I suggest you get boyfriend on your side. He's the one with the dust allergy - so maybe you need to do the dusting (or buy the mask) so what can he do to help? Can he cook? Walk the dog? Sort the washing?

    You still need friends, but Facebook can eat time. TV - I think reading is much more important.

    But sometimes there is just too much Life for writing. Starting a new job is stressful, but it will calm down. Give it a month - and things might feel very different. Do come back and let us know!

  3. Thanks for your useful comments. My first week has gone very well so at least that's something. I think I need to give my writing a break for a couple of weeks until things settle down and then I'll be able to think straight again. Right now all my mental energy is focused in one place.