People don’t do this kind of thing because they have all kinds of extra time and energy for it; they do this kind of thing because their creativity matters to them enough that they are willing to make all kinds of extra sacrifices for it. Unless you come from landed gentry, that’s what everyone does.Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
What kind of pandemic experience have you been having? Assuming all your loved ones are healthy (hopefully) and you don’t have 4 kids to homeschool while you and your partner try to work remotely, I bet your response to that question is somewhere in between the following two extremes:
Some people will cheerfully announce that they have read 120 books and even written one, while also taking up yoga, starting a homesteading project and teaching their neighbour’s dog sign language through the cracks in the fence.
Others glumly report that they have gained 30 pounds, watched every show on Netflix, Disney+, Prime and Crave, forgotten what the outside world looks like, and have lost all ability to socialize with other humans.
I, thankfully, fit into neither of these categories (though the first one would be nice… I have yet to figure out how to properly communicate with the neighbours’ dogs) and I hope you at the very least do not fit into the second one.
However, if you were to ask me the question at the top of this blog my answer would be: It’s really not been all that bad, at all. I’ve read a few books, watched some shows, neither gained nor lost much weight, started a small garden, and learned to understand my toddler (mostly). I’ve even spent a decent amount of time outside.
And yet, I am still lacking one thing I would really like to get back, apart from in-person socialization that is.
And this one thing is Motivation.
Now, I’m not saying I lack all motivation. No. It’s not that bad.
I get up in the morning, I manage to keep myself and my family fed and watered and caffeinated (except for my daughter…she does not NEED caffeine). Most days I fit in a yoga routine, a walk and a workout. I get my contract work done and I clean at least one area of the house. All while continuously interacting with little Aria and doing my best to keep her entertained and to encourage her curiosity and development.
So far so good, right?
Where I’m lacking motivation is in the place I need it most: my self-care. And by self-care, I don’t mean bubble baths and face masks – nice as those are. I mean care of my soul, my passion. My creativity.
I can’t be the only one who has been feeling this.
It’s a strange thing. All through the insanity of my 20s, I wished fervently for more time alone, at home, when I could dedicate myself more to my writing. I bought lottery tickets hoping that a huge windfall of cash would leave me free of the 9-5 grind so I would truly have the time to finally write.
And now, when I’m actually asked by my government to stay home, I have huge blocks of free time. And yet, how much of this time has been dedicated to my writing? None. Or barely any.
See, this is the strangest thing about living through a global pandemic. We are in this stasis, living out this weird groundhog day over and over again. It’s as if we can’t possibly make headway on our personal projects because life is standing still, so why should our goals move forward? What motivation can one find in such an existence?
However, once this pandemic ends, and it will end, motivation may no longer be the problem, but time will be again. In our understandable exuberance to be with our loved ones and celebrate the return of normal life once again, days will fly by in a haze of mimosas and memories.
And I will be thankful, for a time, for this return to the business of the life I know so well. But how long will it take before I am writing yet another one of these blogs, this one moaning about how little time there is to dedicate to my art?
The way I see it, finding motivation to write has nothing to do with the world at large (for better or for worse). No, motivating myself to write is my responsibility and mine alone. And if I can find the time and energy to do all the many other things I do every day, I can find it for the one thing I have always said is my calling in life.
And so, I need to take the words of Elizabeth Gilbert to heart. I’m not going to do this writing thing because I have all kinds of extra time or energy (or motivation). I’m going to do it because I love it, because it is an important part of me.
Because I’m not, nor will I ever be, part of the landed gentry.
And you? Have you been struggling with motivation? How have you been able to overcome this hurdle?
Keep at it, dear reader, whatever it is.
And, remember, Life is beautiful.