Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Desperate for Inspiration

I had a dream.  I had lots of them.

I was going to be somebody.  Somebody that others could look up to, maybe even admire if I was lucky.  I thought I could do it all:  Write a book.  Learn a particularly difficult piece on the piano.  Save animals and inspire others to do the same.  Make a difference.

I haven't done any of those things.

I find it so very difficult to ignore that inner voice that keeps whispering, It's fine, we'll just do it tomorrow!  The laundry needs to be done, Riley wants a walk, and let's face it:  That Netflix queue ain't gonna watch itself.  That voice is so damn enticing.  How do I drown it out?  How do I do these things today rather than putting them off until tomorrow...or the next day, or the next?

I still want to do all those things.  But the gap between myself and those goals being met seems to keep growing - every day, the gap gets bigger and bigger and I feel a little bit more hopeless.  The voice turns ugly:  You can't do those things, anyway.  Why even try?  You'll just let yourself down.  That voice is also hard to ignore...though it is temporarily quieted by a couple spoonfuls of cookie dough.

Dorothy Parker said, "I hate writing.  I love having written."  This is the problem, in a nutshell.  I dread writing, put it off for as long as I can.  Even these blog posts (hence my weeks-long hiatus).  But once I'm done writing, and I read over what I have written...there is no better feeling.  The same is true of other things:  I cannot stand exercising; my body hates me with every step on the treadmill and every drop of sweat that runs down my back.  But when I'm done and showered, I feel great.  Likewise, going out and meeting new people often seems extremely daunting, and I'd often rather stay in with a book than socialize.  But when all is said and done, and I'm at home after a refreshing night out, I wonder why I don't do it more often.

My question is:  How do you make the end result seem more enticing?  How do you force yourself to find motivation?  How do you inspire yourself?  Online articles tell me to take a walk and enjoy nature, but that's never worked for me.  Here's a couple things that do:

Cut out the distractions.  For me, it's Netflix and the Internet.  The two biggest time-suckers out there.  I choose not to consider books a distraction because they can often be helpful tools when I write :)

Look through old notebooks/journals.  Some of my favorite writing has happened after looking through my old work.  Even if it's a hilarious 8th-grade diary entry about how afraid you are that you'll never find a boyfriend, or can often turn into inspiration for something bigger and better.

Try something new.  I never thought I would like going to movies by myself.  Or Pilates classes.  But after trying both of those things, I felt happier and much more energized.  Taking a random ballroom-dancing lesson was one of the coolest things I've ever done, and it definitely inspired me to try more new things.  (College students have the advantage here:  there are always awesome things going on around campus.)

Change your environment.  I often try to write in my bed.  It's comfortable, there's a lamp, and I have the TV and a book right there.  This is not good.  My bed = laziness.  My bed = bad writing.  When I switch to sitting at my desk, I always get more done.  When I go to the public library, I get LOADS done and am more inspired to write.  It's kind of amazing what a change in location can do for your writing.

Force yourself.  Just do it.  Even if you're dreading it.  Even if it seems like you'd rather do anything else.  Do it anyway.  You'll feel better afterward.  (This is the one I need to enforce the most.)

I so badly want to pull myself out of this slump.  I want to feel better about myself and be more productive.  I want to be a more inspiring, inspired person.  I want, I want, I want...


1 comment:

  1. This post spoke pretty much perfectly to me. I have so many things that I want to accomplish, but I feel like I'm not making any strides. I'm pretty sure that I need to 'just do it'. Things may not make sense right now, but once I jump in, I can start to make a difference.