I’ve been a lazy slug the past few days.
With the exception of a great Fun with Fiction interview with Paul Erickson I recorded the other day, I have been ridiculously unmotivated to podcast, to write, to clean house, to decorate, to do… anything.
Y’all feelin’ me? It sucks, don’t it?
I mean, I consider myself a driven person. I have BIG goals. Lots of dreams to pursue, and a limited time frame in which to achieve them. And, though it happens in fits and spurts, my life is generally a flurry of activity. From writing to publishing to website work to networking to working out to martial arts to improvising onstage, I’m constantly involved in some project or other.
Yet lately, I can barely get out of bed.
No, it’s not “burnout”. I know what burnout feels like; I’ve been there, more times than I can count. Honestly, I haven’t done nearly enough recently to earn burnout. I don’t think a break is what I need. While a change of scenery may help (going to Colorado in a week! W00t!), I think the problem stems more from having too little to do, rather than too much.
Sure, I have plenty on my “to do” list. And most of those are projects I’m passionate about, that I really do want to accomplish. What I’m missing is a sense of urgency. Though I didn’t get much more done when I worked my full-time corporate job, I tended to make more productive use of the time I did have, since I had much less time to fill.
I don’t do my best work under the pressure of a deadline. (Most people who say they do, are lying to give themselves an excuse to procrastinate.) Not at all.
I do my only work under pressure of a deadline.
- If I hadn’t had the November deadline for NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t have written 42,000+ words in a month. (I didn’t hit the 50K goal, but I still consider it a win; see my last post.)
- If I hadn’t scheduled the interview time with Paul around his schedule, I might have put that podcast off for days.
- If it hadn’t been for the looming pressure of the holidays, I would never have gotten the Christmas Calamities book finished. (Hell, I didn’t publish Hello, Halloween until two days before that holiday happened!)
In short, it seems that only the presence of an impending external deadline can motivate me to complete (or even start) anything I want to do.
I am not proud of this. An achiever should be able to summon the drive to take positive steps towards his dreams, every day. For whatever reason, I’m not able to do this.
Now that I’ve written it out, though, the answer is obvious: I need to find a way to make my own deadlines pressing. I function and achieve when the heat is on (regardless of whether or not it’s my “best work”). When nothing in the outside world is providing me an immediate sense of urgency, I subconsciously convince myself that I’ll get to it “tomorrow.”
FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured. (Ambrose Bierce)
Of course, this is the most pernicious lie. I can keep telling myself “tomorrow” until there’s no tomorrows left! Because in truth, tomorrow never comes; by the time it gets here, it’s today. (That’s cliche, I know – but you get my point.)
So I need to convince myself that what I need to do is crucial to do today. I need to set a deadline, give myself strong external motivation to meet that deadline, and follow up regularly to make sure I’m staying the course.
An accountability partner would help massively with this. Anyone up for the job? You commit to hassle me, I commit to hassle you, until we each have our important goals complete! If you’re interested – ideally you’re an author or other creative type, willing to make this commitment and follow through – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Not kidding – I need a coach, and you do too. So if you’re game, hit me up!
Alright, I’m done venting my frustrations on you. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope I’ve given you some motivation or ideas for how to achieve your own projects. Email me if this has helped you in any way, or if you have any ideas on what I (and other struggling creatives) should do to get past this bout of laziness.
Now, for my announcement: This Saturday, December 13th, I will be at Mighty-Con Comic Show in Wheaton, IL! The show runs from 10 AM to 5 PM at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, Building 1.
The promoter expects this to be their biggest and best show of the year, and from the guest list so far, I believe him. So come on out and say hi! I’ll have copies of all five of my paperback fiction books (see below) on hand to sign, and I’ll happily do photo ops and talk nerdy stuff with awesome people like you all day long.
Thanks again for reading my rant! You’re the best. If you want some fun fiction for free, and to be the first to hear about new releases coming up, sign up for my newsletter! It’s worth it, I guarantee.
‘Til next time,