How I Treat Myself as a Boss

Bluntly put, if I were my own boss, I’d quit. Does that make sense? What I mean to say is that if my real boss treated me like I treat myself when it comes to my writing life, I don’t think I’d last very long at a real job. I make myself work six days a week. No vacations. No sick days. Hardly any excuses. I had a splitting migraine and was throwing up for half of Saturday, and I still felt guilty that I hadn’t gotten any writing done that day. Guilty enough that I wrote extra on Monday and Tuesday to try and stave off the feeling somewhat.

Why do I do that to myself?

Well, part of it is that I just love to write. There’s certainly something to be said for being able to do what you love. And I know that if I don’t force myself to write, then it likely just won’t happen. I have a lot of other things to do, and so without the pressure to write, I’d just let it slack off. I mean, I like to do a lot of things I don’t get to do on a regular basis. Play board games, read more, go out to the movies, fish, hike. Why don’t I get to do them? I don’t make time for them. I really don’t want writing to be added to that list.

And so I drag myself out of bed an hour early every day and force myself to sit in front of that screen until 1,000 words are written. I take my iPad with me on vacations so that I can keep the writing going there. And that’s all very good. I’m proud of how much writing I’m able to accomplish. But I can’t help thinking I ought to be to the point now where I can not write *sometimes* and not feel guilty about it.

Way back when I started my daily goal, I had to write every day, or I really did stop writing. Aren’t I at the point now that it’s ingrained enough into me that I’ll do it even if I take a sick day or a vacation now and then? And in my defense, I *have* taken a few sick days and vacations–it’s just that I still felt guilty while doing so.

When I’m sick and stay home from my real job, or when I go on vacation, I’ll tell you one thing: I don’t feel guilty. Maybe if there’s a huge deadline, and I just can’t make it to work, then I’ll feel bad. But if I’m not missing anything vital? I just lie in bed and let myself be miserable. Maybe I should work out some sort of a contract with myself. X number of sick days per month. X number of vacation days.

But something’s telling me that’s a tad overkill.

Maybe I ought to unionize . . .

4 thoughts on “How I Treat Myself as a Boss”

  1. That’s how I am with running. I am MISERABLE if I haven’t run yet, because I feel horribly guilty. I can tell you the number of runs I have “missed” in the last two years (actually, I can count them on one hand). It’s obsessive to the point that I ran 5 miles before giving birth and then 4 miles 5 days after. As fast as I could.

    I force myself to take two days off every week–Sunday and Thursday. Maybe you should designate a couple of writing-free days and just block them out on your calendar to give yourself a guilt-free pass.

  2. I have been thinking lately about doing the set number of vacation days and set number of sick days thing for us. I think it would help us to actually take vacations, for example. We’ve been really bad at that these last few years.

  3. Rachael–Yeah–I take Sundays off. It would probably be in my best interests to give myself another day off, but the inertia I have to overcome to get myself writing each day is sometimes too much as it is. Worried that if I gave myself more time, it would be even harder.

    Janci–Being wholly self-employed would be very difficult for me, for exactly the reasons you’re bringing up.

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