Second, this is the last week to enter the contest on my website for a signed copy of one of Bish Denham's books. Just click the big WIN button right over here ---> to enter. New contest begins on February 1.
And now, on to today's post. Thriller writer Colby Marshall is back talking about relaxation. Get a cup of whatever-keeps-you-going, read Colby's post and the blurb of her new book COLOR BLIND, leave a comment, enter to win Bish's book, and go buy yourself a copy of SECRETS OF HONOR!
1/27/15 UPDATE: Colby just posted this in the comments section:
Also, just in case anyone's interested, I just got 2 Advance Reading Copies of my newest thriller coming out in April--DOUBLE VISION--in the mail, and I'm giving them away on twitter this week. If you'd like to enter to win, stop by my twitter @ColbyMarshall and Retweet my tweet about the giveaway or tweet @colbymarshall using the hashtag #ReadinColor. I'll be drawing those Friday. :-)
I CAN’T RELAX
By: Colby Marshall
Last Monday was magical. The theatre production of CATS I directed was in the midst of a few days off between performances, and I had a very productive day. I wrote 2,139 words on the third, in-progress book of the Dr. Jenna Ramey series (my usual daily goal is 1,000), and I accomplished a few research and outlining goals, too. I’d finished work and…other work…and was off work for my other job for a couple of nights with nothing left to do but just sit back and rela—
Uh-oh. I had forgotten an important part of this equation: I don’t know how to relax.
For example, my vacations are the cherry on top the ice cream that is my day-to-day working life. Finally, an entire week when nothing is needed or expected of me, when the kids are entertained and there’s no house, car, or second job to keep up with. It’s the perfect time to get some work done!
A week’s vacation is good for writing about half a novel. The beach might shine golden in the sunlight outside the hotel, and I can always be found in my chair enjoying exceptionally cool Florida air conditioning, computer on my lap, typing away. At the end of the vacation I look up and realize it’s over.
It’s not just me. According to a 2013 study from Expedia, Americans are given the fewest vacation days each year compared to other developed nations, and we allow ourselves even less. It’s both sad and ironic that in a job where I can technically set my own hours, I do it too.
Though I have to admit it’s oddly satisfying. I’m so dependent on the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal that nothing else quite compares. But somehow it all works out, at least for now. Business trips to New York City can become supplemental vacations for me and my husband. My husband is also deeply involved in my writing process, reading along and editing as I go, so it’s not like we have to be separate.
Maybe there’s an easy explanation somewhere of why our compulsion to overwork is a thing. Who knows. Suffice to say it’s a fact of our society we’ve all come to live with and accept. And looking back, I don’t regret it at this point.
The key, I think, is to find what we want to realistically do for a living and then actually make it happen. After all, we have to earn a living somehow, and if so many of us are going to end up overworking anyway, we’d better make damn sure that thing we’re devoting so much blood and sweat to really does make us happy when we accomplish it.
That’s probably why I haven’t been driven crazy(er). Even though “Fiction Writer” is about as prudent a career goal as “Singer-Songwriter”, at least every time a small goal gets accomplished, the satisfaction energizes me to keep going. Then that satisfaction shines through in my interaction with my husband and kids. I can’t imagine where my home life would be if I devoted the same time and effort into something that made me miserable.
And surely it won’t go on forever. Eventually there’s got to be a threshold we cross. On the mystical other side are structured, manageable work days capped by hours of spending time with the kids, long conversations with our spouses, Christmas shopping months in advance, and the ability to set all monthly bills to auto-draft from our bank accounts (seriously, I know some people who can actually do that!). That’s a dream worth working toward.
What’s your experience in balancing work/life?
A neurological condition characterized by automatic, involuntary sensory perceptions triggered by seemingly unrelated stimuli.
There is something unusual about Dr. Jenna Ramey’s brain, a rare perceptual quirk that punctuates her experiences with flashes of color. They are hard to explain: red can mean anger, or love, or strength. But she can use these spontaneous mental associations, understand and interpret them enough to help her read people and situations in ways others cannot. As an FBI forensic psychiatrist, she used it to profile and catch criminals. Years ago, she used it to save her own family from her charming, sociopathic mother.
Now, the FBI has detained a mass murderer and called for Jenna’s help. Upon interrogation she learns that, behind bars or not, he holds the power to harm more innocents and is obsessed with gaining power over Jenna herself. He has a partner still on the loose. And Jenna’s unique mind, with its strange and subtle perceptions, may be all that can prevent a terrifying reality.
Writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, Colby has a tendency to turn every hobby she has into a job, thus ensuring that she is a perpetual workaholic. In addition to her 9,502 jobs, she is a proud member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. She is actively involved in local theatres as a choreographer and occasionally indulges her prima donna side by taking the stage as an actress. She lives in Georgia with her family, three mutts, and an array of cats that, if she were a bit older, would qualify her immediately for crazy cat lady status. Colby's debut thriller, Chain of Command, and the second book in her McKenzie McClendon series, The Trade, are now available, as well as the first book in her FBI profiler series featuring Dr. Jenna Ramey, Color Blind (Penguin/Berkley, 2014). The next in the Dr. Jenna Ramey series, Double Vision, is due out from Penguin/Berkley April 7, 2015, but is available for pre-order now!
Find out more:
@colbymarshall on twitter.comAvailable on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Color-Blind-Jenna-Ramey-Novel/dp/0425276511/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421827799&sr=8-1&keywords=Colby+Marshall or anywhere books are sold!
Get SECRETS OF HONOR for 99cents here!