Wednesday, August 02, 2006

when do writers and illustrators get time off?

I never really get time off. Even when I've taken a day to relax I can't because I know that I have a deadline looming and my "relaxation" will make my book a day later.

Today, for example, I have a bad cough and a sore throat. I happen to be one of the unlucky individuals who gets sick even in the summer. I want nothing more than to lie down in front of the A/C and maybe watch a little TV. But it can't happen.

My question to all of you freelancers out there is this. How do you find the time to relax? When you take a vacation, do you REALLY leave the work behind?

meghan m (aka gloria--I was in an odd mood!)


Anna Alter said...

This is a good question. The way I think it usually works for me is I take chunks of time off, after finishing a big project. I can't really relax when something is due either, just constantly feel sucked into working until its done... so when I have a little spot of a few days between tasks I try to take full advantage.

But that is a problem when you are juggling many things at once and I think its really easy to burn out if you don't do something for yourself... there is no good answer I guess but I think for longevity it is REALLY important to take time out where you're not thinking about work... even if its just a walk around the block once a day.


Grace Lin said...

Ah,it seems like I never get to take time off---every vacation is a working vacation. Even now, I am in Montreal and have lugged my paints with me and am painting away at wee hours.

The problem is,when you're an author/illustrator is that no can do the work for you. No one can cover for you if you're feeling ill or want to take the day off.

Still, wouldn't trade it for an accountant job.

Libby Koponen said...

I can't ever really FORGET about what I'm writing but a big thing of mine lately is to make myself EITHER be productive or admit that I'm not going to be, or give myself permission not to be, and HAVE FUN.

What I am trying to avoid is the syndrome of saying no to the party, old friend's visit, whatever because I have to work, and then not working (or even thinking creatively about what I'm supposed to be working on) and feeling guilty and anxious the whole time. The worst of both worlds!

So, now I try to be more more balanced and conscious about it (not easy because I am definitely an all-or-nothing type). But last weekend I tried something different: instead of just staying home and working on my novel--which I kind of wanted to do -- I decided to go, but go later (so I could write in the morning here) and get up early and write in Boston. I did at least stay in touch with the book by doing it that way, though I didn't get as much done as I would have had I stayed here. But I had a lot more fun!

I'm really, really glad I went -- and I will make up for it THIS weekend.

Jane Austen once said that she could no more forget her book (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! I AM NOT COMPARING MYSELF TO HER!!!) than a mother could forget her child and i think it is kind of like're sort of always listening for it once you're really into it. THat can be an exhilerating state of affairs; but it does also mean that there really ISN't any time off.

Meghan McCarthy said...

the story behind gloria estefan is that I am odd. I couldn't come up with a name to use and in popped hers. I have no idea why. It's not like I've even seen her face or her a song by her in years.

It's interesting to see how we all cope with the time off/no time off thing. I have always thought that creativity is a blessing and a curse. You can never take a vacation from it!

Linda S. Wingerter said...

You are odd, Gloria. What would we do without you? Take some time off so we can see you more.

alvinaling said...

Just to put in two cents from a non-author or illustrator or freelancer, editors have the same problems (as I'm sure do many other office workers slaving away...). Sure, we have a set number of vacation days a year that we are encouraged to take, but almost all the editors I know take reading or other work on their vacations. I enjoy reading submissions for the most part and wish I had more time to do it, but I also wish I had more time to read other published books--and yes, adult books. But yeah, it's all about balance. People are more productive if they have time off their careers to recharge.