Why Can't I Take a Break?
My relationship with my side projects has lately been very similar to the relationship between Ross and Rachel.
I'm not proud of this. It's actually a bit of a depressing comparison, albeit humorous at my expense. If you're not familiar with this FRIENDS reference, let's get you up to speed.
Rachel has been overworked and overwhelmed at her new job. Ross has been frustrated because he doesn't see her much anymore, and when they are together, she's a bit hostile.
Ross steps over the line, and their bickering escalates into a much larger fight, which climaxes with Rachel saying, "I think we should take a break."
Ross calls later to apologize, but Rachel's with another guy (who Ross hates). Ross starts drinking, and wakes up next morning beside another woman.
Rachel finds out - of course - and Ross's defense for his poor mistake is this: WE WERE ON A BREAK. This scene is referenced throughout the following seven seasons as Ross and Rachel continue to be on-again-off-again.
It's the single scenario that brings the entire show together while tearing fans into Team Break and Team No-Break. This is me and my work.
I am Ross. Rachel is my work. Being together is so frustrating! When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. When I am writing, I put myself in a frenzy trying to create something I feel is good.
Day-in and day-out the frustration builds until I need a break. What if I want to do other things like read or exercise, or anything spontaneous? I'm only reminded of my infidelity by the blank pages staring back at me! It's never-ending!
I take a break to do something else, to follow some other interest, and then I'm constantly haunted by it! Come on, writing, WE WERE ON A BREAK.
I get it. I do. If I want to be a great writer, I can't skimp on practicing. I have to do it every day, whether it's fun or just feels like something on the to-do list. That goes for all of us, whatever it is we're trying to accomplish.
To varying degrees, it's never okay to stop what you're doing and pursue some other interest - if you want to keep getting better.
There's nothing wrong with pursuing other passions and skill sets. But you can only be in one real relationship at a time if you want it to grow. If you skip around between passions, you'll become a jack of all trades and a master of none.