When The Going Gets Tough, Forgive Yourself

I write this sat in bed after a week of… Well, ‘Hell’ seems disingenuous. My teaching experience has made me rather tolerant to stress and pressure and intense workloads, and other things that make people have minor break downs.

Which is not to say I’m immune to having minor breakdowns, or to feeling the pressure. I’m just acclimatised to it. My stress threshold is now so high, it takes something momentous for me to start to show signs of stress. People say things like ‘you’re so calm, how are you so calm?’ when faced with deadlines and important meetings and other things happening – as things always do – all at once.

But while I’ll smile and don’t get snappy and generally present a positive outlook when the going gets tough, I’m definitely not immune to the bone tiredness that comes with working under pressure for extended periods of time. Last week, we had a tight deadline for a project at a time when the people who should have been working on it were otherwise occupied. I was on a course the week before, someone else had commitments on another job that were also time sensitive. Other people had other pressing reasons that they had to be out of the office. Meaning we were at limited capacity, doing something that absolutely had to be done by Friday afternoon at the latest.

It meant pulling twelve hour days, working through breaks and working fast, but without losing accuracy. Which meant I was coming home, sinking into the sofa with the feeling that my brain was coming out of my ears every night.

Which is all well and good if you don’t have anything else to do, but like many people in the book blogger community, I’m trying to write books on top of my career and, you know, life and stuff. And it’s just no good trying to write when all you’re good for is binge watching Jessica Jones on Netflix.

There’s a fine line for me between genuine tiredness and laziness. It’s easy not to get on with editing a scene, or writing the next chapter, because you feel a little tired. I’m always going to be a bit tired after work – it’s the nature of work – and I’ll never get anything done if I always give that excuse. But there will also be weeks like last week when I’m genuinely good for nothing but sleeping it off and waiting for my brain to recover.

Balancing your work and your writing can be a real challenge, and sometimes, something has to give. I’m trying to get better at recognising when those moments are, and when I’m just slacking off. I want to be motivated and I want to be productive, but I also don’t want to be beating myself up about time that genuinely couldn’t have been spent any better.

Because when you have a week like I’ve had, the only thing you can do is forgive yourself. Then rest up, and come back stronger tomorrow.

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