Being a workaholic is both good and bad. The good is that you really get things done. Not feeling that hot? It's midnight and you're still not done? What a beautiful day for a drive, but the article isn't done? Workaholics are driven to finish what they start. They truly believe their own commitments. I should know. I've been one all my life. Nope--haven't even been sober for a day!
Back when I was an interior designer, my partner always made time for the things she wanted to do. Me? I kept hacking away until the job was done. Then I would have time for the other stuff. Never mind that it was 8 or 9 o'clock. I'd finished the floor plan, or drawing or whatever other thing compelled me to keep working.
I kept the same discipline when I became Director of Design for a developer. Ten hour days were the norm, and somehow I managed to make time for my kids, too. I set up a design department from scratch, developed all of the systems and procedures, hired, trained and supervised staff and in the process designed some damn good model homes.
On to sales and marketing of design projects --- I worked on projects for a variety of companies, involving anything and everything from fast food restaurant interiors to major office jobs. At one point I covered the 11 Western states for a Canadian firm, one of the five approved interiors suppliers for McDonalds. I was design liaison for their eateries from the beaches to the mountains, and flew into some city 3 to 4 times a week. My neighbors thought I was a flight attendant, albeit one dragging a huge portfolio. A typical day, including travel time, averaged about 15 hours. Occasionally I made an overnight trip to Windsor, Canada. I'd fly from Los Angeles into Detroit, rent a car, and drive through the tunnel to Canada. Then I'd have my meeting the next morning followed by a flight back to L.A. Needless to say, my internal clock was really messed up by all the time zones in such a short time.
Later I changed to representing a comany in Irvine, CA. and worked with other concepts like Burger King, Denny's, Tony Roma's, Pollo Loco, Arbys and more. At least corporate meetings were in California.
I won't bore you with the details of my journey from interior design, sales and marketing to writing but there were several more stops along the way. Suffice to say that the habits linger. Yesterday wasn't one of my best. I really felt a little punk. But my manuscript for Writers Tricks of the Trade called to me.
The voice in my head screamed, "Hey, it's me, your manuscript. I'm supposed to go the editor by June 15. That won't happen if you don't finish me." So I forced myself through eight hours of working on it. I must say, and this sounds strange, I'm learning from my own manuscript.
Sometimes as writers, we put the words on the paper without absorbing the full meaning of what we've written. I'm glad I didn't let up the guard yesterday, because as I re-read a few of the chapters, I realized I had to follow my own advice and make some changes to a manuscript.
Today I'm feeling great. Wonder how many hours I'll put in. It's a beautiful day for a drive. Hmmm, I still have to write my column, the manuscript beckons, and--- what the heck --- maybe I'll take the drive after all.