Some things are way harder to do than you might think, especially if they don’t come naturally to you. Learning a new language. Making an open-field tackle. Folding a fitted sheet. Getting rid of a skunk. Being good in bed.

What can I say; nobody’s good at everything.

Now I can add one more thing to the list. Writing a book.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to write. And I couldn’t be happier with the result. But banging out a 280-page manuscript on a deadline while working full-time was way more difficult and time-consuming than I imagined.

It’s actually an awful lot like developing and launching a product or a company. There’s planning, strategy, organization, execution, and finally, marketing and sales. We’re talking a year of long seven-day weeks. Now that it’s done I’m just sort of burned out.

Friends say I should take a vacation and celebrate my accomplishment. That sounds like fun but I’m just not feeling it. All I really want to do is get back to some semblance of what used to be normal around here.

Winter’s coming and after a year of neglect, there’s a long list of chores that need to be done. There’s firewood to chop, brush to clear and burn, gophers to hunt, trees to drop for next year, citrus and avocado trees to harvest, flood drains to clear, outside repairs and painting to do, I could go on and on.

Sure, I can hire people to do some of that stuff, but why? That’s the fun stuff. After a year of taxing my frontal lobes 24×7, I can’t wait to get back to weekends of honest, mindless labor where I can actually look at two days of handy work and feel a sense of accomplishment.

And I want to be able to take breaks during a normal workday to run an errand, trim a bush, or go for a trail run or something. Besides, my wife has sort of had it with my neurotic yapping about “the book this” and “the book that.” It’s a miracle that she hasn’t murdered me in my sleep. Yet.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun to actually be an author for a year – to have a publisher, an editor, and a cover designed just for you. And while I know it’s obnoxious to say things like “I spoke with my agent yesterday,” I did it anyway and you know it felt great. It really did.

It was cool to imagine I was Superman for while, but it’s way harder than it looks. Besides, it’s just not me. Think I’ll go back to being good old Clark Kent.

Image credit: Scifidramaqueen

  • Pierre Monteil

    When you’re working hard on a challenging project, involving a lot of energy, many times, you dream of the time when it will be done. Finished. Delivered. Cleared. And interestingly, once you’ve finally made it, once the time of the praise has gone, it’s not exactly what’s happening – or more precisely, if it happens, it does not last. It’s a very fugitive feeling. Then, you kind of miss the enthusiasm you were putting in “doing it”. I’ve noticed many times people resigning or leaving organizations after big projects. Not necessarily because they were tired or bored. But rather because they wanted to live such a thrill again. I don’t know how you’re living it Steve, but please, keep writing!

    • Steve Tobak

      Insightful, Pierre. It’s sort of like an addiction and, when it’s over — when you lose the high — those who are prone to that sort of thing can become depressed. They either work through it or seek to replace the high — the power they felt. The latter is a sort of dysfunctional cycle, I’m afraid, but it does drive many people do accomplish great things over and over. The trick is to not destroy your relationships and yourself in the process. In any case, I’ll only quit writing when they pry this macbook air out of my cold dead hands. Just need to pace myself a bit.