Anybody Seen My Motivation?

Dunes of the Namib Desert, taken by Simon Collins

About a year and a half ago I wrote up a post that differentiated between writer’s block and a dry spell. The former’s defined by a lack of ideas, the latter by outside influences draining the writer’s energy and free time. I’d chalk up my current mental state to a dry spell if it weren’t for the fact that I kind of hate everything I write right now. Especially that last sentence. No, wait, that one was pretty bad, too.

In all likelihood it’s some form of post-holiday depression brought on by diminished energy reserves following the exhaustive spending and binges endemic of this time of year. The best way to deal with it will probably end up being just writing through it. It’s like sitting in a traffic jam on the way to an important or exciting event; you can’t just abandon your car, so you sit and wait it out. Unless of course you see an explosion or the shambling hordes of the undead in your rearview. In that case, by all means, abandon that would-be mobile coffin and run like hell.

I find it difficult to motivate myself, however, when I hate everything I write or even think of writing. I think it’s rubbing off from others, as well. This may sound familiar: I want to improve what and how I write, but the possibility of what and how I write right now is not very good, so I don’t do it. Again, the solution is probably to write through it. And if I weren’t me I’d be encouraging me to do just that. Bear down and write through it. Get the bad words out and scuff them from the edges of the good words later. Write for the sake of writing, not necessarily for the approval of others. Just goddamn do it. Right? Right.

I can see why people hate it when I talk like that. Or like this, for that matter.

I have to say I’m glad I’m not a poet. If I were to agonize over every single word I wrote in the interest of meter and pace, I’d probably be even crazier than I already am. I’d dabble in more journalism but in all likelihood, in this state of mind, I’d write the word “fuckers” five thousand times and call it a column on the supporters of SOPA and Protect IP. I mean even in this obscure little blog I can’t keep myself from referencing more brilliant writers, in whose shadows I stand and weep a little bit.

Jon Stewart once said that comedians always know somebody out there with less talent than they have is making more money than they are. I think writers are similar. I also know that people with more talent than I have are struggling for the same eyeballs I want to put my words in front of. I can’t say I’ve ever not known this, but lately it’s been difficult for me to get around that notion, and the hatred of my own writing, and this general feeling of ennui that’s passing through me, hopefully on its way to someone else’s brain.

So, hey, if you’re one of the few dozen people who actually reads this stuff and you’ve had a similar experience, feel free to drop me a comment. Misery loves company, after all, and it would be good to know I’m not alone when it comes to self-loathing and enervation teaming up to hold one’s motivation to ransom.

1 Comment

  1. Jack (And Calumon) Nicholls

    January 3, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I had been suffering from a lack of motivation for a very long time, and I’m talking a few years here. Probably had something to do with a depression at the time, but that’s not important as it lasted beyond the point I stopped suffering. I was not only not coming up with good ideas but belittling myself for concocting such strange ideas that were clearly bad and would not fit in well with anything.

    A clear example of me suffering from this comes from a Just Cause 2 review I made way back when where I spend the actual review criticising it non stop before I end saying it’s probably one of the best games this year without explaining why. It was just bad from beginning to end and I hated myself for making it. This was the result of me forcing myself to work when I clearly could not and it shown it my eyes.

    However I did manage to get some motivation back with some variety in what I was doing. Rather than just playing games and watch comedy shows, I changed things up a bit. I began watching Anime that did not rely on my Nostalgia as a child, I read some nonsensical books such as Alice in Wonderland and Through the looking Glass and that introduced me to an incredible new style of writing that I’ve even found myself talking in as well, which certainly has earned me looks, but I can’t care, because I’ve never felt more creative.

    Sample something new, something you’ve never tried or previously dismissed. Show yourself something beyond your own grasp of reality, of your own realisation. That’s what brought my motivation.

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