Why the F**k Don’t I Just Write?
Examining my lack of motivation to do something I enjoy
If you took a glance at my timeline over the last three months now, you would’ve been greeted by a blatantly suggestive image of a peach. It fits perfectly with the topic of the article it preludes, Too Hot To Handle. I still like the piece and image and I am still surprised by the fact that a reality show got me to sit down, analyze it and write something profound about it (well… or maybe something quite superficial and blunt, go judge it yourself). It still bugged me that the first thing (potential) clients, colleagues, and friends saw when looking at my Medium profile was a bright orange image of a metaphorically loaded peach. It bugged me that it has been three months since I last wrote anything on this platform.
So why the fuck don’t I just write?
That question kept (keeps) floating around in my head, especially when spending yet another evening binge-watching yet another overhyped show on Netflix. Thankfully a lot of the time that question was sucked into the vortex of the slow resurfacing of an actual social life post (or.. well.. mid? We’ll see.) pandemic.
You’ll read a lot about writer's block on the internet, especially on this platform. While did anticipate getting bored with writing after some time, as I do with most things I start eventually, I didn’t anticipate wanting to write but simply not being able to do it.
I’d go for a walk and suddenly be hit with ideas for whole articles — sentences, phrasing and all — only to come back home, sit down and draw a complete blank. The fact that I got annoyed with myself didn’t help to get the creative juices flowing.
I’d start writing about my depression a couple of years ago, only to realize after a couple of minutes that I am not remotely capable to put it into words (even if a had a lengthy, drunken deep-talk with a friend about it just the day before). Starting to write about finances would suddenly trigger a screeching privileged-white-dude voice in my head, keeping me from going on with it. Even writing about design and the process behind it didn’t work, as every new article piling up in my unpublished medium stories simply felt pointless.
A lot of people here can probably relate, considering all the articles about creative struggles on here.
I would finish another article about productivity on Medium, proceeding to binge-watch the whole fourth season of Goliath in just one evening (it’s great, by the way).
I even managed to read several pretty good books about organizing yourself, clearing your head to tackle the stuff that matters. Bullet Journaling even stuck, I’ve been doing it for over three months now (thanks to an intriguing article by Tom Kuegler that lead me to read the book). Watching a video about it on YouTube led me to another book about Atomic Habits, teaching you how to approach shaping healthy and lasting habits through a surprisingly simple framework. Truth be told, that endeavor wasn’t an utter failure either, because it did help me to reflect more on my day-to-day thoughts and actions. It just didn’t help me starting to write again.
Why the fuck was (is) it so hard so take some time each day to write about stuff that matters to me. I did it before and I had a fuck ton of fun with it until I just… stopped for no apparent reason. They say you simply have to love what you do and you’ll magically keep doing it. You know, “ Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” or something similarly pretentious. That is just utter bullshit. I enjoy being a freelancer and reached a stage where I get to cherry-pick the jobs I want to do and most of the time even the people I want to do it with. I still find myself struggling to find motivation a lot of the time. The same goes for most things I love doing.
Loving something doesn’t absolve you from putting in the work and surely doesn’t keep you from sometimes hating it.
Talking to friends and family it seems that almost everyone is struggling with being sluggish at the moment. Everything, even (or especially) the things you used to love doing feels like a chore. It has something to do with being constantly alert and bombarded with bad news for going on two years straight now, while suddenly not having any real-life social interactions for months on end. They call it “post-pandemic depression” and a lot of experts expect waves of wide-spread mental health issues to hit over the next couple of years.
I guess that is part of it, though I wouldn’t consider myself depressed at the moment (I know the feeling intimately). Tired would describe it better.
“Just writing” is supposed to help, too. You’ll just take a set amount of time and start writing whatever pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a full-fledged article or even coherent. They say it’ll help to train your mind and before you know it, there is your new article. I lasted a whole three days doing that before I got annoyed again and quit.
Maybe it was the fact that I suddenly got paid to write through the Medium Partnership Program. Once you get paid to do something, it quickly becomes yet another job instead of something you do just for fun. But honestly, the little amount I did get out of it so far doesn’t even justify calling it a side-hustle.
Working out is also supposed to help kickstart your creativity again. Well, that is yet another project I’ll have to tackle and it is going to be an undertaking of its own to beat the boss-level couch-potato mind I groomed in the year since I injured my shoulder. The lack of exercise is surely starting to fry my mind.
It’s not just writing that comes to mind. My bucket list for things I want to do or start is probably a mile long now and keeps growing every other week. It usually ends up paralyzing me. I don’t know where to start so I simply don’t start. Surprisingly, bullet journaling is slowly helping me to get a better grasp on that and filter out the more vital ideas. We’ll see how that goes I guess.
I wrote this article on a Sunday, slightly hung-over and tired as hell. I will re-read and edit it once before simply hitting publish.
Did I magically kick writer's blocks butt ranting about my shortcomings?
I don’t know. I guess that this remains to be seen in the weeks to come.
This is no masterpiece with profound revelations and a list of things for you to start writing again.
But it sure felt good to end up having written my first Medium article in three months.