I enjoy my free time. My wife and I like to binge watch TV shows and go to the movies. I have a group of friends I play soccer with on the weekends. When I’m out of town, there’s nothing I’d rather do than see friends, hang out with family members and explore the sights and sounds that come with travel.
When it comes to my true passion, however, I am a downright workaholic. These days, I like to spend about 80 hours a week on my work. There are 20-25 hours that I have to put toward my paid freelance work, but the vast majority goes toward fiction, marketing and blogging. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My wife and friends don’t understand it. Frankly, five years ago, I wouldn’t have understood it either. I worked several terrible gigs before I settled on my writing career. My longest tenure was as a barista at Starbucks. I enjoyed that job too, particularly the times I was able to connect with customers. For a guy who occasionally falls into the category of “unintentional outsider” it was nice having a few hundred forced friends per week. Spending time as a coffee shop chatterbox taught me a lot about people, work and general psychology. But learning and conversation wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to grow and improve as a person, and that wasn’t going to happen if I hopped on the management train.
The other reason I didn’t love my pre-writing careers was that I didn’t have much control. I can be obsessed with control, and that infatuation almost led to me becoming a theatre or film director. When I have the ability to shape all sides of a project, I feel like it’s truly mine. I never even cared all that much about finishing the projects. It was the hard working journey that got me excited.
The combination of growth potential and never-ending hard work made becoming an author the clear path for me.
When I get excited about a fiction project, like I am for book #2 of the Ted Saves the World Series, I can put in a full 14-hour day without much rest. It’s that passion energy that pushes me to find reserves I never even knew I had.
I’m not alone in this sentiment. I’ve heard of dozens of authors who feel the same way and often push themselves too hard. I’m in danger of that; no question. But the potential for burnout is totally worth it, as I get to spend so many hours per week working on a platform that will hopefully deliver my words to as many people as possible. If I need to take a second honeymoon to Cancun to mellow me out once I hit the breaking point, so be it.
Top Image: Flickr Creative Commons Hard Day at the Office by Tash Lampard