Can one write too hard?  Work too hard?  And still not feel like you’ve done enough?

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve set this goal of finishing a long novel this summer, since this is the time when I can have uninterrupted time, five days a week.  And so, for the past few weeks, this is exactly what I’ve done.  To some extent, it has worked.  Unlike the rest of the year, when I am dashing and juggling an impossible set of responsibilities,I actually have enough time to go to not one, but at least two yoga classes, while getting work done.  Even a few swims, once the pool opened.  What a miracle!  And taking care of many of the niggling domestic improvements that are the bane and joy of house living.  And still sit at my desk!  The healthful sense of balance was achieved—I felt energetic both  mentally and physically.

But this past week, something went awry.  I plugged ahead, but by the end, I was lagging.  I somehow never made it to yoga.  Forget swimming.  My sciatica kicked in and began to distract me.  My right wrist began to hurt.  I finished out the week feeling run down, headachy, not entirely pleased with the most recent passages.

There’s no doubt that when I don’t take care of myself, physically, and then drive myself to sit at a desk like a prisoner to my manuscript,  it backfires.  Alas, I’m all too prone to this—I can easily talk myself away from all those replenishing activities–a walk, a bike ride, a call or visit to a friend–and instead guiltily chain myself to work.  Friends have commented on ‘my discipline.’ But it’s not always the best discipline because ultimately, if I’m not refreshed, or deeply rested, the work is not either.