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I knew I was a sugarholic, and I knew my addictive tendencies tend to manifest in other non-sugar ways…


Most of my life I’ve been plagued with a nagging sense that I’m not working hard enough. Especially upon entering the workforce after college. Not smart enough. Not knowledgeable enough. Not experienced enough. Work harder. Learn more. Learn faster. Produce. Produce. Produce.

All the while wondering what happened to my sense of wonder and awe. What’s wrong with me. Why do I feel so flat. So deadened?

Not to simplify matters, or to simplify a decade and a half of my life, but I’ve begun to suspect part of the issue may be that I’m chronically overworking myself. Compared to many in the workforce, I suppose I’m not that bad. I shun overtime. I’ve learned to delegate. I’ve learned to say, “Oh well, it’s not my problem.” However, after reading Workaholic Anonymous’ twenty questions to determine if I’m a workaholic…

  1. Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
  2. Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can’t?
  3. Do you take work with you to bed? On weekends? On vacation?
  4. Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most?
  5. Do you work more than 40 hours a week?
  6. Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures?
  7. Do you take complete responsibility for the outcome of your work efforts?
  8. Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time?
  9. Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won’t otherwise get done?
  10. Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it?
  11. Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing?
  12. Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work?
  13. Are you afraid that if you don’t work hard you will lose your job or be a failure?
  14. Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going very well?
  15. Do you do things energetically and competitively including play?
  16. Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else?
  17. Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships?
  18. Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep or when others are talking?
  19. Do you work or read during meals?
  20. Do you believe that more money will solve the other problems in your life?

If you answer “yes” to three or more of these questions you may be a workaholic. Relax. You are not alone. Many have found recovery through the tools of this fellowship.

Okay. Let me tally up the results.

Oy vey.

Although I’ve made strides in the last few years towards balancing work and play, I look at the above list and have to ask: Is it even *possible* to be an aspiring novelist while holding down a full time job *without* falling into workaholism?

I mean, what writer can’t answer “yes” to at least 3 of the questions. What writer doesn’t read or work during meals, take their work to bed, think about work while driving, become irritated when someone interrupts their creative flow? What writer doesn’t fight the fear than any success they’ve had is just a flash in the pan, and they’ll never be able to live up to their last project nor their own expectations of themselves?

Is there a way to moonlight as a writer and not be a workaholic? Or must we writers just resign ourselves to a life (or a season) of addiction to our work?

p.s. I’m writing this when I should be in bed sleeping.