Work-life balance remains an illusion for many, even those who are self-employed. And for authors. The pressure to add to the bank account, land that next client, write the next book pounds at us day and night.
That’s one reason authors panic when they hit the dreaded writer’s block.
Some push through the block, forcing words to flow onto the page and knowing that those words just suck. So, on top of creative stoppage the writer also suffers from acute disappointment in herself. Or himself.
Let’s add to that the normal and often overwhelming demands of family. Some of us have livestock. Day jobs. More demands. It’s enough to crack a superhero, right?
Along with the illusion of work-life balance, career gurus stress the importance of self-care: those actions we take to nourish our spirits and relax our minds and bodies so we can take care of all the myriad obligations for which we’re responsible.
So, what do I do?
If I’m lucky, I go horseback riding. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve got a whole sack of fear issues regarding horses. However, I keep reminding myself that this is fun. Even when the horse is a restive, jigging, prancing, high-strung barrel of TNT with the fuse lit, I usually end the ride feeling relaxed and exhilarated—odd to feel those distinctly opposite emotions at the same time. But I never ride alone, because that’s a great way to get badly hurt and … you know … fear issues.
I’m not often lucky, so I read instead. Or I have a glass (or two) of whatever adult beverage I have on hand that appeals to me. Alcohol can take the edge off a rotten day, but it’s too easy for me to tip the scales from “light buzz” to “sloppy drunk.” Other times I watch TV, usually a sappy, fluffy romance on Netflix or something on PBS. I enjoy travel shows.
Naps are good, too. Nothing quite beats a long, hard nap, even if I wake feeling groggy and lethargic. There’s something so indulgent about taking a midday nap that resisting its appeal is difficult.
What I don’t do is what all the experts recommend: exercise. Blech.
Take a walk “in nature?” I live on a farm. “Nature” at this time of year means bugs: mosquitoes, horseflies, bees, wasps, spiders. Heat and humidity so thick and heavy that I almost need gills to breathe and “swamp ass” becomes a real concern above and below the waist. No thanks. That’s not relaxing, it’s oppressive and creepy and just plain icky.
Should I learn something new? When I’m drained of energy and inspiration, the last thing I want to do is expend energy and mental effort on something I’m don’t know how to do. No thanks.
Taking care of me means doing what I want when I want how I want and where I want. Seldom do I enjoy such a confluence of conditions. In the meantime, I’ll have drink and watch a movie. Or take a nap.
The Eagle at Dawn by Holly Bargo
Rachel's brother uses her as collateral to settle a debt with an outlaw motorcycle gang. She flees to a local bar and pleads with a darkly handsome stranger to help her. His help results in homicide. When eagle shifter Diego's vacation is interrupted by the innocent young woman he recognizes as his mate, he flees with her across national borders because she's his and he's not letting her go.
Having essentially swapped one captor for another, Rachel knows the dashing, sexy Spaniard is keeping secrets from her. He showers her with kindness and generosity in exchange for her obedience. Diego's control over her and his secrets elicit her distrust and resentment.
When freedom beckons, Rachel answers its call; however, freedom brings hardship and indignity. Will she return to the controlling alpha male who stirs her blood or cling stubbornly to her freedom?
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