I have always been an advocate for the “Go hard, or go home” way of living. This has been my philosophy whether I am partying, traveling, working my passions, or exercising (actually for this one, not as hard as usual now that I am a full time working mother with a travel blog on the side).
I don’t like being a parked car, instead opting for a fifth gear kind of life. This philosophy works, except sometimes I’m driving too many roads in fifth gear which later converge into an intersection of carnage.
I usually don’t go through one life changing event at a time. It always seems to be overloaded with a pile of other monumental tasks. When Craig and I married, we also at the same time, were planning an indefinite move overseas and world traveling adventure, leaving only 3 days after the wedding. Not only that but we brought an investment property only weeks before the wedding which we were finalizing, as well as packing up and renting out our own house and organizing jobs in Thailand. Kind of stressful, but that’s usually how we play, and we cope pretty well.
The last two weeks for me though have been incredibly difficult, and I have found myself completely wiped out. I’m starting to realize the go hard or go home mentality is not really serving me very well anymore.
We’ve had a massive international relocation, and doing it with a 3 year old adds for some extra energy drain. Now we are back home, we are trying to get settled in, dealing with conflicting emotions, major readjustments, and attempting to get our life in order. On top of all the strain, I came down with a cold, other maladies, and simply felt exhausted. I’m sadly beginning to grasp the reality that I am not 24 anymore.
As a result, our travel blog,which I have always approached with enthusiasm and devoted every spare minute to, became something I could not even look at. Every time I forced myself to sit down and work, nothing came up for me except feelings of dread, disconnectedness, and self-doubt. There was just far too many other things going on that I had to deal with.
All motivation and inspiration had left me and I was left wondering just what the hell was this all for anyway.
But it was not the end of me, it is all just part of the process. I’m still here and I am writing again. Today is the first day I have felt somewhat normal since we returned home. This is the first fresh post I have sat down to write in weeks, and although I have had to get up from the table and take frequent breaks, and I feel kind of jittery, I am at least writing again. My focus is returning and I can see the light.
There is hope. You can get overcome the lack of inspiration and motivation. The blocks are really a message for you to slow down. You can only do so much at one time. Your motivation will dry up and your creative writing ideas will wither away when you need to put your focus into other things for awhile. It usually is an indication that you have some unbalance somewhere that needs re-correcting.
Here are my tips on how to deal with a lack of inspiration, motivation or writer’s block:
Find the underlying cause: The best way to get over the lack of motivation is to work out where the block is coming from. There you should find your solution. For me, I was exhausted physically and mentally. I needed time to rest, deal with my life changes emotionally, and settle into my new home. I had to take care of me first.
Get rid of the guilt: Realize that the world will not fall apart if you miss a few days posting on your blog. I’m the type of person if I commit to doing something, I struggle with not following through with this. I have been posting almost daily on my blog for some time now. I know this is not necessary, but it was something I started doing in order to build my presence very quickly (Go hard or go home!) Now if I miss a day, I go into a panic, and I feel as if I am not just letting myself down, but the whole world. I’m sure no one would even notice if I didn’t post daily. This is a personal battle I have with myself, and while the commitment is a good thing, allowing it to throw your life out of balance because of it, is not.
Prevention: Whenever those beautiful creative flashes of inspiration come upon you then write. Take that enthusiasm and energy and put it into good use. Write as many drafts for future blog posts as you can. These will serve you well in moments of burn out. I was so grateful to have quite a few half or almost finished blog posts that I could play with and neaten up. These were the kind of tasks I could manage somewhat well during my burn out. That helped me to continue posting on my site daily and lose the guilt (or just cover it up).
Don’t give up: This is the worst thing you can do. When you go through these burn out moments, doubt creeps in and you think it’s time for you to quit. Your mind is not shy in telling you that your ideas are ridiculous, your writing sucks, and its never going to work. This is just your exhaustion and fear talking and you can’t see the forests for the trees. Ignore it. The only way you will fail is if you quit. Know that everyone goes through these emotions. To make sure I never give up, I always make sure I do something each day for my blog, no matter how bad I’m feeling. The tasks I choose are really very simple, non-thinking tasks, like uploading pictures for future posts. This is usually a feel good task helps improve my motivation. Or I may focus my efforts on Stumbleupon or something equally stress free and enjoyable, yet productive.
Go out and find the inspiration: Get out of the house, office, or hostel, where ever it is you work from. Take time to breathe in the fresh air and just enjoy living. You’ll start to find that inspiration will come to you from the simplest things, from a magpie cawing at the beach to your little girls’ squeals of joy riding in the back of your bike. We are working on making our Facebook fan page more fun, and are putting new ideas in action to for more interaction and to promote our community members work. This inspires me and keeps me focused on my bigger vision as it involves helping others and brings some socializing fun into my business.
Choose the right time of the day to work: Everyone has a different optimal energy time of the day. Work out what yours is and do most of your work then. I am a morning person. This is my most energetic time of the day and the time I want to be doing most of my writing as its when my mind is the freshest. For some people it may be midnight or afternoon. Plan those times for your most important work.
Sleep: You can’t function without it. Your body will start shitting down other areas to cope with the lack of sleep and energy, the ability to think being one of them. Just go to bed and rest. It will still be there tomorrow. This is something I’ve been doing a lot of lately and it’s definitely helping with my transition.
Stay for a week at a health retreat in Thailand: I’m working on it and I’m dreaming about it every day. I just know that that is what the doctor has ordered for me and for you too.