Recharging, taking a break, and other things I'm bad at... Jenny O'Connell

I love the idea of taking a break. Or recharging. Or just avoiding what I have to do in favor of more fun things. Unfortunately I'm really bad at it. Not because I can't unplug but because I have trouble plugging back in!

I'm very much a deadline, gotta get it done type of person. In college I was the one who was up all night writing a term paper that should have been written over the course of weeks, one page at a time, so there wasn't a mad dash at the finish line. But that's not me. Even now, the only thing that gets my butt in a seat with my laptop is a deadline. I need to feel like I'm going to let someone down if I don't deliver. That's motivating to me. I need fear in order to accomplish something - fear of underdelivering, fear of not meeting obligations, fear of failure.

So the idea of taking a break - which I pretty much do every summer because it's so hard to sit inside and write when the sun is shining and my kids are home and the pool is just whispering to me, "Jenny... come out here and lounge while reading a book... enjoy yourself a little..." - is terrifying to me.

The thing is, I feel really bad about myself when I'm "on a break." I actually prefer to be typing away, finishing chapters and seeing something come to life. Being on a break is nerve-wracking because I wonder if I'll ever be able to get back into the swing of things. I need momentum. I need forward motion. I hate feeling useless. I love seeing the word count on my manuscripts go up and up.

So I find breaks to be very dangerous for me. They slow me down rather than recharge me. They make me lazy and stall my momentum. Not to say I don't love a vacation. But I love writing and finishing a book even more.


  1. I sooo connect with this, Jenny! There's a definite rhythm to writing, and it can be hard to get back in it when you've been out of it for a while...

  2. I really relate to this soooo much, Jenny! I rarely took breaks because of it and this summer has been one big long break because of moving (well, it was a writing break, not much of a physical break) so I'm pretty freaked about getting back into the swing of things.

  3. I really relate to your deadline motivation. I'm the exact same way. I don't care if my ed has to make up a deadline. If I get vague direction, nothing will get done!


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