I sat at my desk. It was the time I’d set aside for writing posts, choosing ideas from my list and writing them up in full. It’s taken me a good several years to get this far, where I’ve got a proper if still basic idea of when I’m best set to write. For me at the moment it’s Monday and Wednesday – I think the fact that Monday is the start of a new week and is a day I see as productive after the week’s end as well as it being the day my blog is visited most, helps me get in the right frame of mind. Wednesday may not be the start of the week, but it’s my second posting day of the week and is the last day when most of the week is still to come – by Wednesday we’re looking at the weekend coming swiftly.
But Monday wasn’t working. It was a dreary day outside; it begun that way and it carried on, and I dislike dark rainy days so I naturally thought it was a weather-induced lethargy. I didn’t feel like writing, none of the ideas on the list were working for me. But I started to realise it wasn’t procrastination either. It was a lack of inspiration.
It got me thinking – feeling ‘off’, for whatever reason, is one thing. Procrastination is another. And a lack of inspiration is something else again. And I think it’s easier to work out when you’re feeling off because it has a more obvious effect – you don’t feel well, or you feel down, or you’re in a slump. Generally noticeable things. Procrastination is also noticeable because it’s that odd thing – the lack of effort which itself takes effort to achieve. But inspiration is different; it can feel like lethargy.
What do you do when you lack inspiration and need it? I think responding to it a little like when you’re in a slump can work – if you’re someone who powers through regardless, that could help and if you’re someone who makes it a time for rest or to do other things, that can help. But then it’s not quite the same as a slump.
During these times I tend to decide to do something mindless, something that’s full of autopilot actions where my mind can wander if it so wants. Depending on the situation I might decide to do something I don’t do much, in my case watch television or a film – things I find unproductive in terms of myself. (Sometimes doing something I like/dislike can remind me how relatively important the activity that I’ve abandoned is, which can help jump start inspiration.) Going out can help but it’s nowhere near the forgone conclusion, I find, that articles would have you believe.
I said Monday wasn’t working – it’s more isn’t. I’m writing this whilst feeling completely uninspired. I suppose not being inspired can be inspiring in a limited way – I’ve now this post but I’m not going to write a slew of similar ones. But I think it pays to reflect on the things you do most. I wonder if perhaps the thought I had at the turn of the year, ‘I may have done it for a few years now, but how on earth am I going to produce a lot of ideas and written content for another year?’ has something to do with it – my fairly empty non-review schedule.
I wonder if I should just go and watch a film or turn the dishwasher on. But here I am or was writing, something, at least. And on a Monday.
What do you do when you’ve everything you need to do the writing/composing/drawing/studying/so forth you planned except inspiration?
February 15, 2017, 8:44 am
I can easily sympathise with you. It happens to me too often. One has to find inspiration elsewhere. Maybe search for an interest of yours, find other websites which inspires you. Find a quote that inspires, achievements of others, new routines etc. I use Pocket and subscribes to weekly articles they put together. Often, but not always, I find inspiration there. Lit Hub Daily talks about literature ( thanks to Travellin’ Penguin for link). In general, searchin randomly the web for this one word that will inspire you. 👍🤗
February 15, 2017, 7:40 pm
For me, it’s just to walk away from it for awhile. Then, when the inspiration hits again, if not where I can act on it, at least jot down notes to draw from when I can.
February 15, 2017, 8:32 pm
Oh my gosh, we had the same Monday!
I usually love Mondays now that I work at home. In the morning I plan the week, then get started on those tasks. But last Monday, I balked at sitting at my desk. I just could not do it. Maybe it was because the weather has been so rainy and finally we had a dry, sunny day, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. All I could think of is how much I wanted to take a hike. So I did.
I think there are times, because we are adults, that we can talk ourselves out of ‘fooling around’ and just get to work. And then there are times we know we just have to fool around knowing we will get back to work.
On the other hand, maybe something is shifting and Mondays will no longer work for you?
February 15, 2017, 8:56 pm
I had one of those days last week! They are frustrating. When they happen and I am just sitting there staring at a blinking cursor I close my computer and do something else – read, tidy up my desk, put away that thing I’d been meaning to for ages and still haven’t, do an extra long and extra hard workout. I find forcing the writing is an unhappy thing all around.