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.