Reflecting some more on the idea of needing a break, I find myself thinking about the fact that this year — thanks, in no small part, to the new freelancing gigs I’m taking after losing the permanent THR position — I’ve been dealing with relatively longterm projects for the first time.
In my past, while I’ve had gigs that have continued for some time, they’ve generally been centered around the idea that I’m handing in work on a regular basis and moving on. Even on previous projects that I’d considered “longterm” — which seems almost embarrassing, looking back, because they’ve lasted a month or so at the most — there’s been a regular back-and-forth between myself and editors or collaborators that allowed me to feel as if I’ve reached some kind of ending point, or at least a milestone.
That’s not really been the case this time around; there’s the mystery secret project that’s slowly continuing in the background, that I’d hoped to have finished last week but reality — and other gigs — got in the way, and then there’s a second longterm project that’s been in the works in some degree or another since… February, I think? Maybe early March…? A significant period of time, nonetheless.
Admittedly, for much of that time, it was “in the works” in the sense of, “occasionally I’d think a little about it and then move on.” It didn’t become more of an actively-work-on thing until a month or so ago, when the deadline started looming large in my imagination. This meant that I spent a large period of last month working primarily on the two longform projects, and not having many — enough — short term things happening. I was, for want of a better way to put it, missing the relief that comes from submitting a piece and thinking, well, now I can move on.
The absence of that sense of closure, or that moment of “Thank fuck, I can put that particular mental box away” for a month, might have contributed to my burnout last month, looking back. Or perhaps I’m just overthinking things, now that the first draft of that second project has been submitted and I feel as if I can move on, at least until the inevitable request for rewrites.