Saturday, December 6, 2008

Finding that oh so hard to find motivation and time

I have been a procrastinator since birth, and also a pack rat, but the latter is for a different piece. I was the person in college in the computer lab until the early a.m. working on papers due that day (with a lot company I should mention so you don’t judge too harshly). I met my college roommate (that I still live with) by pulling all-nighters. She holds the record in our group of friends for consecutive nights without sleep.

But the difference between myself then and now is that I don’t have the energy to pull it off. And I’m old. Or, older. But the thing is that I work best in the middle of the night. It is usually when I get my best ideas to write, and something about the quiet—of everyone else sleeping—makes it the perfect environment.

When I lack the motivation to write, I take classes, go to readings, and just to try to surround myself with inspiring writing. But similar to many I imagine, my job is becoming increasingly demanding and finding the time to write or to be inspired is difficult at times. Staying late at work just isn’t enough anymore, and I’m beginning to take it home with me. The line between my office cube, and futon in my apartment with papers strewn across my coffee table is becoming increasingly blurred.

In my downtime, my creative juices do not flow at will. I come home and applaud myself for actually making dinner and avoiding trashy VH1 television that helps me calm down after a long day. My time off becomes my time before sleep to not get things done, and to try not to think about work. All I want to do is relax, and my writing takes a back seat. Maybe I need to set a schedule for myself. I have been sitting on the same short story for over a year, not sure of how I want to revise (even though I have been given excellent suggestions through workshops). I’ve tried to set aside entire days for writing, but the vast resources of Hulu have gotten the best of me. I find that like in college, I write best when I have little time. Not rushed that is to say, but when I have pockets of time.

So I’m going to try to set a schedule of “pockets,” and let you all know how it goes. Please feel free to leave comments with suggestions, or locations where I may find or steal your motivation.


Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

If your job is robbing you of precious time and energy and you're not sufficiently obsessed with scribbling down your chunks of profundity in the evenings to do so regardless of your exhaustion, I'd suggest (rather facetiously) that you find yourself a nice, friendly squat full of understanding arty types to live in, thus removing the need for rent money (and thus the pesky job).

If you don't take yourself seriously as a writer and carve out a way (however toilsome) to nurture your chosen skill, then it will be harder for other people to take you seriously. Worst comes to worst, they'll just see Cubicle Girl. Make haste! Rediscover your motivation before you morph into another office drone... a decidedly chilling prospect, I’m sure you’d agree.

Alternatively, cut off your friends and family so that you can make full use of the weekend. Loners are meant to be good with words, or so they say.

And, um, good luck, whichever way you choose to scramble out of your rut : )

Cat said...

Thanks for the honest advice, Sam. I do not want to be known as Cubicle Girl. Although, I do think that alter ego has an amusing super hero name. I think I'm going to have some loaner days ahead of me :P

Also, just for the record, not sure if I deleted the first comment by accident or not. I never actually got to see it, so my apologies to whoever left it. Anyone know how to undelete those things?

Katie said...

Cat, I could have written this! But you put it into words much better than I would have. I really want to get some writing done, but I've been taking my Cengage laptop home a lot and I feel like I never have the time, either. I always used to get a lot of writing done the day before something was due, too. Anyway, thanks for this!

Sam said...

No worries - my apologies if it was a tad unsympathetic; sometimes I worry that the Fringe blog is morphing into a sob story support group for would-be writers. Writing about writing is one thing, but writing about not writing irks me. I usually keep it to myself, but this time my censor failed us all. Anyhoo, it's my petty grievance, not a personal snipe : )

The deleted comment was mine, incidentally - I have a rather sinister internet connection that overrides my better intentions (assuming I have any).

Supportive idea: have a good read of the stuff in the latest Fringe (and assorted other publications) – it’ll either inspire/motivate you or make you want to throw it all in. Hopefully not the latter sentiment though.

Cindy said...

I agree with Sam that I wanted to post a blog this time that wasn't writing about not writing or wanting to be successful, but if I'd blogged about writing, I'd have sounded like you, Cat. For myself, I think the problem is that I don't have anything I want to say or anyone I want to say it to, as far as poetry goes. But that stems from over-isolation, not just from energy vampires, but also from an involuntary lack of local creative writing community. lack of motivation and maybe too much time are also factors, but really it just stinks to be me because I should have it made, but I so do not at all. But the perfect environment and moment is the one wherein we make it happen.

Good luck!