Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Paradox of Motivation

Motivation is such a funny thing, isn't it?

On Tuesday, I had an appointment in the afternoon and was also going to get groceries, but was otherwise intending to put tons of time into Blueberry.

I'm not tracking time any more, but I do know that I got 2,489 words for the day and felt that I wasted quite a bit of time, especially in the morning. And I was seriously mentally tired by the evening.

Wednesday, I did a 91-minute (hey, that last minute can be a killer :) training run and then had lunch with my sister/training partner/motivational speaker, and intended to come home to write.

Unfortunately, I came home with a sore throat and fell asleep on the couch for three hours. When I woke up, I had that "incompetent sword swallower" feeling, where you feel like your throat's been slashed to ribbons on the inside. This is not conducive to sleeping well, obviously, and so I had a rough night last night.

On to today. I woke up with a slightly improved throat but the unpleasant addition of a stuffed-up nose. I have a lot of things this weekend that I need to be NOT sick for, so my plan was to spend the day on the couch. No pressure, just relaxing and recovering.

Which I did. See this? This was my office today. I spent the day propped up on the couch under a faux polar bear blanket. (I loves me my polar bears!) The little laptop, and the laptop pad, just snuggled right in there. Whenever I felt like taking a break, to get another drink or just to get my blood moving, I did. But otherwise, I wrote pretty much the whole day.

5,930 words, to be exact. I think that's my record for a single day of writing. On a day where I've gone through nearly a whole box of tissues and a full two litres of orange juice. And, even right now at 10:30PM, I feel like I could write another scene or two. You know, to relax me before bed time.

I don't know why Tuesday, which should have been a good solid writing day, was less than half as effective as today. But I think part of it might be because I didn't put any pressure on myself. I do want to write Blueberry, and I know this, but sometimes I get all hung up on exactly when I write and how much and where (mustn't write just anywhere, you know... I have a perfectly good writing area set up and so it's not 'correct' to write on the couch).

Maybe it's better just to open up and let the words come out.

It certainly was today.

I started Blueberry on February 1st, although it was interrupted several times by Aardvark's final editing and query assembly. The current word count is 21,427 words. I wrote nearly 28% of those words today. Without being in my usual chair, with my usual things around me, with the cat on the table 'helping' me out (she spent the morning sound asleep on the bed, but did come meow at me in the afternoon, apparently also concerned about my 'inappropriate' writing location).

I think I've been putting a little too much emphasis on the props, on where I write and when and how and how long a session is and all that stuff that truly doesn't matter because when the words start flowing the biggest problem is typing fast enough to keep up. I want to remember today, and how my relaxation, the thing I did to not think about this stupid cold, was writing.

I always want that feeling. I hope this will help me remember it. And maybe encourage some people out there to drop even one of the props they think are necessary for whatever it is they do. If the props help, great. If they might be holding you back... drop 'em and see what happens!

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