I think I'm finally finding the balance between pushing myself too hard and too little. When I was in high school and college, and even more recently, I would refuse to give myself a break on virtually anything, pushing myself too hard (to reach goals, to be perfect in all things, to always be improving) until I would reach my limit, then I'd stop. Stop trying, stop everything. In high school and college, these stops couldn't last too long, because the next project would be due and I'd be back into the pushing phase.
When I gradated into the workforce, the slacking phases could extend to months at a time, followed by guilt, and then extreme dedication to being the best at everything once more. But it occurred to me today that I'm not in that cycle any longer. I've learned how to be gentler with myself when I'm aiming for perfection, and also how to prompt myself when I know I'm coasting.
But writing doesn't fit into any of the same logical parameters. For instance, if I'm tired, I try to go to bed earlier, or I don't work out as hard. If I have a lot of deadlines and projects for my paying job, I give myself time off later and I make sure I have plenty of relaxing, fun things to do during my down time in those hectic periods. But when it comes to writing, if I don't feel like doing it, it doesn't matter.
I'm not being hard on myself here. And I'm not complaining. I've learned that if I don't feel like writing, that's too bad, because I'm not going to reach my goal unless I work when I'm feeling inspired and when I'm not. And usually, even if I don't feel like writing when I sit down, I'm enjoying it in no time, and at the very least, I feel good about myself when I've reached my daily goal.
Again, this is a good reminder (like my earlier-this-week post about how I feel better about myself when I write) right before NaNo WriMo starts. If I complain when I'm in the middle of November, remind me to look back at these posts.