Where does motivation go when it deserts you?

In July I spent two weeks in the Algarve. Wonderful! Blue, blue sky, hot sunshine day after day (bliss after the dismal summer here), lounging by the pool, jumping the Atlantic breakers, walking on long, golden beaches, lazy lunches, sunset dinners … Yes, I loved it!

So, did I come back refreshed, renewed, re-energised, ready to tackle existing commitments and take on new challenges? NO! I returned demotivated, lacking in focus and completely unable to commit to anything apart from hanging about. Having had a break from technology for two weeks, I particularly couldn’t face emails, facebook, my blog, and worst of all writing.

Over and over again I told myself

but it didn’t work.

It didn’t help that my inertia coincided with the Olympics. I seemed able to commit to hours of watching others working at their mental and physical peak. Athletes who were only there competing because of years of determination, hard work, persistence, focus – all the attributes I couldn’t muster.

I kept sitting down at the computer, hoping that by some magic, the old habits would return.

and gradually – very gradually and painfully – I think it’s working!

I’ve written the first draft of the commissioned story that I wrote about in my last post (weeks ago), I’ve answered emails – even sent a few – ventured onto FB and went to a writing workshop at the Barber Institute. Oh, and I’ve broken the blog drought. So, I hope I’m getting things back. But it’s scary – like walking into a dark room and not being able to find the light switch.

Do any of you have times when you can’t tackle things – even things you usually feel passionate about? What are your techniques for getting over it? I’d love to know.

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11 Comments

  1. Robin Heaney says:

    It happens to everybody. Last Friday morning I was flying out of Staverton – it was the best day of the whole year. You could see a million miles but for some reason, when I got up there, I just didn’t feel like doing aerobatics, so I bimbled around by Malvern and went home. Never happened before; hope it’s not permanent. Maybe I was still thinking about the bloke in Evesham who phoned up to complaIn about the noise.

  2. Lindsay says:

    The mind is a strange thing. Why does it do this to us? I know what you mean about worrying it might be permanent – when you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to believe you’ll ever crawl out.

    Who complained about the noise?

  3. Robin Heaney says:

    Don’t know. He must have had binoculars though!

  4. Becky gethin says:

    I shall be reading the answers to the problem with great interest myself!
    Glad you had such a good time though.
    Lots of love Becky X.

  5. Lindsay says:

    Maybe there isn’t an answer, Becky. You just have to work through the pain!

  6. Aaaaahhhhh … you get up and go had got up and gone πŸ™

    Not to worry! You’re back on form now πŸ™‚

    Upwards and onwards!

  7. Lindsay says:

    I’m trying, Polly, but it’s still a struggle. Any tips?

  8. Nikki Scott says:

    I’m trying to remember a book reviewed in Oliver Burkeman’s Guardian column – need tips myself for improving memory – on learning how to achieve whilst living with severe depression which he recommended for anyone wanting to achieve goals. Yours is a temporary situation but you can imagine how it would feel to live like this daily?! Anyhow, while I’m waiting for the brain cells to catch up, I found this:
    http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/what-to-do-when-you-dont-feel-like-doing-anything/
    It’s similar to how I get through lacklustre days. I write lists then divide into importance and I allow 3 little jobs to be ticked off before I have to face a ‘groaner’.
    On severely dull days I make the list then allow it to percolate while I bake. (When I read your post above I immediately thought of this & then there below is your 13th July post.) I find a new recipe, follow the steps & fill the kitchen with a gorgeous smell. It’s like a meditation.
    As another thought do you know of the Artist’s Way daily pages? Everyday quieten the monkey chatter by writing for 30 minutes before you do anything else. Write longhand rather than type, don’t think about it, don’t edit, don’t reread and throw it away the instant you’ve finished. It’s the very act that kick starts the day.

  9. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Nikki – all good advice. I know the daily pages, and it’s something I’ve recommended to my writing students, but not something I’ve done myself! Fortunately, I think my motivation is returning – at least, I hope so.

  10. Mo says:

    Welcome to my world, Lindsay!

    What you need is a good writing mentor/friend to give you a gentle ‘talking to’, reminding you of why it is you’re writing in the first place. Then your Writing Group should start demanding the next instalment of the novel, giving you only three days to come up with something. Works for me!! (Although I’m a master at backsliding as well …)

  11. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Mo, for the encouragement. I’m doing my best to get back on track!

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