Do you feel guilty that you're even thinking of work?
You're on a break! Free that mind. Relax. Stop thinking about work because your family needs you. Dang it, you need you!
But when you don't scratch that work itch and force yourself to "enjoy" your vacation, is there . . . stress gnawing at you?
You're a self-employed creative. If you don't work, you won't be able to feed your family. If you don't write everyday, you'll let Ray Bradbury down. If you don't . . . , gosh can you consider yourself a real writer?
Oh, as if the creative life isn't difficult enough. We are such wretched creatures, aren't we?
I was on a week-long break recently and there were moments I heard conflicting voices in my head. In the end, I just did what was best for myself.
I gave in.
To both sides.
Possible? Oh, yes.
Here are 3 ways we can feel and act better to rid ourselves of that guilt and stress.
1) Give yourself a pat on the back.
Do this before anything else.
The only reasons you're thinking about work even while on vacation are because:
a. You love what you do.
b. You're one heck of a responsible badass.
Either reason is worthy. You love writing, sketching, or brainstorming on story ideas, which is why you show up for work everyday. Your work matters to you. You don't need complicated analyses of why you do what you do. You care. You show up.
And it's perfectly fine. It's perfectly normal and even admirable. Well done.
There ~ guilt for thinking about work resolved.
2) Set time boundaries and give yourself permission to work.
There's an itch? Scratch it. But scratch it smart.
If you're on a family vacation, you can't let everyone wait till you're done replying e-mails or till you've figured out that plot twist that's been bothering you, right? (No, you're a responsible badass to your family, too.)
So make a deal with yourself: work for only 30-45 mins a day. Pick the most urgent tasks, deal with them with as sharp a focus as you can muster, and go on with the other plans for the day.
Trust yourself more. Trust that you'll get to the rest of your work after your break. Many writers I know get sucked into torrential tasks because we don't think those tasks can wait. But they really can. Let people know you'll get back to them in x days, that's all. One to two short, friendly lines so your clients or editors won't keep waiting for your reply, plus you'll get to focus on each task when you're back fully.
3) Stay engaged with the moments on your vacation. The car rides, the walks, the funny shops, the amusement park, the fabulous lunches, the afternoon naps, the conversations, the never-ending sky, the cultures you're marinating in. Stay engaged, notice them, observe people, and record them in your little notebook only at the end of every night. (*It's important that you aren't scribbling every other minute during your travels. That's cheating your family of your attention. Wait, what if you forget what you've observed? Not likely. Once you pay attention to a certain smell, or colour, or mood, it is registered in your mind. Trust that. You just need to recall it later. Maybe with a bit of chocolates, or cakes, or tea. And if you still can't recall it, then it probably wasn't that impressive, hey?)
Collecting ideas and inspirations - who says you can't be working while vacationing?
. . .
So here are the 3 simple steps for all of us wretched creatives. Honestly, our work may be tremendously insightful or amazing or what-not, but it won't mean much if our families aren't happy. So enjoy your work and have a fabulous vacation!
Do you scratch the work itch while on vacation? If so, how do you help yourself handle both work and play?