November Blahs

It’s Thursday and I’m Crafting my Life. Or, at least, I would be if I could motivate myself to do anything.

I have the worst case of the November blahs right now. November is a very dark, grey, rainy month here in Vancouver, and it wears on you after a while. I’ll take a little bit of drizzle over snow any day, but too much of any particular weather pattern can become tiresome. I can safely say that as I write this the rain has reached the tiresome point, and then some.

One of the big obstacles I am facing on my whole journey of re-invention is finding the time and motivation to get any work done. I spend a lot of my days doing very exciting things like making peanut butter sandwiches with no crusts, picking up toys, changing diapers and plucking dangerous objects from the hands of my children. I plead, I cajole, I sing silly songs, I read books and I occasionally raise my voice in spite of myself. My children nap far less than I would like, preferring the ‘rarely and for short periods’ plan over the ‘give Mama lots of time to herself’ option. And then, eventually, they collapse into bed and I tackle the kitchen and then I just want to sit still and enjoy the quiet.

There are a few ways that I could react to the fact that I don’t feel like doing much of anything. I could take the tough love route and beat myself up over it. But really? I am so done beating myself up over my perceived shortcomings, it is just not helpful for me. I could try to bribe myself into productivity by promising myself a treat when I’m finished, but I rarely manage to hold out that long because frankly, skipping the work and going straight for the chocolate sounds better. Or, I could just give in and do nothing, but that doesn’t help my mental state much, either.

When I am suffering from terminal lack of motivation there are a few things I’ve found helpful. I’ve mentioned making space for new things in the past, where you start clearing away the clutter from your physical and mental space. That can sometimes get me out of the doldrums. But the most sure-fire and effective thing, for me, is to just sit down and write anyway. Yes, I may need to wait until the kids are otherwise occupied or my husband is home. Yes, it might feel vaguely painful to stare at a blank screen. No, the ideas do not come flooding into my brain.

But. But. Eventually, I start typing a sentence or two. Then I delete them. And then I type a few more, and delete them. And sooner or later I get a whole paragraph and it’s not half bad. And maybe that’s all I get for the time being. But it’s a paragraph more than I had, and the next time I sit down I have a starting point. Slowly, slowly, I pick away at it and it gets easier.

Even when you’re passionate about something, sometimes your drive is just not there. And that’s OK. It is not a sign that you’re on the wrong path or that you aren’t cut out for this or that you chose the wrong thing. At least, not necessarily. It could just be a part of the natural cycle of things, the ebb and flow of life. If you keep at it, it will come back. And you will learn something about your process and yourself as you work through it, and probably emerge the better for it. After all, anyone can do it when it’s easy, but it takes something to do it when it’s hard.

So, here I sit. I have the blahs. I don’t want to write all that much. But I just did anyway, and I feel better. And maybe if you try it, you will, too. Or, maybe you have some other sure-fire way to beat the blahs. If so, please share!

PS – Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. I hope that you have a fabulous, restful holiday, completely devoid of any blahs whatsoever.

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  1. You sure wrote a very nice post, considering your November blahs! I find that often I have many ideas, but I can’t quite formulate them. And when I have the idea and the formula, I don’t have the time to execute them. But then, having children has been very good training for stopping and starting something over and over. And the weather always helps!

  2. I love the expression “having a blah”. Blah times are necessary sometimes. I go blah on occassion. And I agree with you. It’s ok!

  3. The rain is killing me slowly. Normally I don’t complain about the rain because I grew up in the interior of BC and I know how cold winter can get and I hate snow and cold much more than rain. But the days of torrential rain suck! Even my puddle-loving little man doesn’t like the rain any more. This morning I see blue skies outside so I’m hopeful things are picking up.

    I also have the blahs but after some reflection I’m not entirely sure it’s November (even though I did blame November just last week) or just that I rarely do anything different day after day. I’m cutting those crusts off and singing silly songs over here too. I’ve been trying to write but at days end I don’t have the energy to think. Blah!

    It’ll get better!!
    .-= Marilyn´s last post ..I’m Pretty Sure She’s Screaming "Bad Mommy!" =-.

  4. The blah’s this year are horrible – I’ve been in one since getting back from Scotland (i’m blaming the lack of light during the dismal scottish summer added to the lack of light in the dismal lower mainland fall).
    It is horrible feeling unmotivated ….. but you have written a lovely piece for your blog (to go with your other thought-provoking daily offerings which are delivered regularly), well done. If you can keep a focus on what you are able to do, keep a list of what you intend to do when the time is ripe, and ditch the housework you should be well set!!

  5. I did, I did! NaBloPoMo rocks. Except when it sucks. One of the things I’ve had to get over is waiting until a post is polished and perfect before I send it out there. Because if I waited until they were perfect, my blog would be a big blank bottomless void.

    You’re one of my biggest inspirations. Blah/blog on.
    .-= Allison´s last post ..**************My Catholic Post =-.

  6. If I could have seen further than 2 inches in front of my face last night my blog post for today would have touched on my own November blahs and expanded on my personal hatred for the rain right now.

    But I couldn’t find my glasses and my eye felt all weird and puffy and I just wanted to crawl into bed so I guess I should be thankful I managed any sort of post at all.

    4 more days…4 more days…and then November is OVER!
    .-= Carrie´s last post ..It’s late… =-.

  7. seriously, nov is a month to endure – at least that’s what my sinuses are telling me. good news is, my husband bought tix to c white xmas at the arts club.

    typed with 1 hand – baby on lap – neo citrin in hand.

  8. I watch the rain trickling down the windows and can’t help but be overjoyed, for the wetness that lays heavy on my soul is a source of life for my lawn. My lawn, that semi-green patch of grass that is not yet impressive will be a lush, velvety thing of beauty in the Spring.

    Thank you, Rain!

    That’s pretty much the only positive thing I could come up with 🙂

  9. Hope your blahs subside. I’ve also been struck by how very rainy November has been here in Seattle. Shouldn’t be a big surprise, but somehow it’s come as a shock that we can’t go out on the playground and beach at any moment anymore. Well, Mikko would, but Sam and I prefer not being soaked and frozen.

    The staring at a blank screen but writing anyway thing? That’s what NaNoWriMo taught me for the first time last year, because there’s no time to dally. I used to try to wait for The Muse, but now with a 2-year-old and all that other life stuff, I have to just do it, just write. I find the more I practice that discipline, the easier it becomes.

    Mike: Good job coming up with something positive! We don’t have our own lawn, but I will try to appreciate the general greenness.
    .-= Lauren @ Hobo Mama´s last post ..The winner of the mei tai giveaway — and how to make your own! =-.

  10. I remember clearly the blahs I’d feel in November, December, January, especially February and half of March back when I lived up north. I was incredibly affected by the lack of sun. So much so that I started going to a tanning place once every couple weeks. Not to get tan, just for the dose of “sun” and it worked wonders. I’d lay in a tanning bed, put on some island music on the headphones and soak in the faux sun and be totally alone for ten whole minutes. Just ten minutes on the lowest power setting and afterwards my blahs would be gone. Gone! People buy those full spectrum lights for the same thing. You could try upping your vitamin D. That might do the same thing too.
    .-= AmberDusick´s last post ..Red Big Chill Fridge =-.

  11. Chocolate helps. And upbeat music can trick me into a higher energy level long enough to actually start feeling less blah.
    .-= Lady M´s last post ..Grateful =-.

  12. babieswhobrunch says:

    My very good friend who’s living in Vancouver at the moment is also finding the weather tough. She actually compared the stats on the amount it rained in Vancouver versus the UK the other day…. I guess she had time to kill!!

  13. Oh man, I needed this post. I feel like I’ve had either the November Blahs, or maybe even the 2009 Blahs. And all the sudden I’ve lost all interest in my usual passions. I’m just treading water. There have been two incidents inside two weeks that made me completely unappreciated and useless in my chosen field, and that really messed with my head. I even started thinking about dropping my career path all together, but I’m sure that’s just a knee jerk reaction. I’m not good with ebbs and flows. To me, the ebb means permanent change, but that’s just because of my totally unstable upbringing. I can hardly ever go back to something after drifting away. It makes it hard to stay married, that’s for sure!

    Anyway, I’m hoping to get some perspective on this whole depression thing soon.
    .-= TheFeministBreeder´s last post ..Full-time Worker, Full-time Student, Full-time Breastfeeder too =-.

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  1. […] 2. I learned, yet again, that November is my least favourite month. Can you say blah? […]

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