TOWARDS THE MOUNTAIN

Most aspiring writers are people who work a full-time job and use their precious free time to practice their hobby of writing. They dig caves into their blankets, settle in with their laptops, and become hermits from the world. I know this because I am one such hermit. This voluntary isolation is the only way I get writing done. And even then, it’s still a challenge. A here’s the reason:

Working full-time is hard.

Most days after nursing in the community I come home, lay on my bed, and tell myself I’ll watch half an hour of television before turning the rest of the afternoon into a whirlwind of productivity. It’s when I realise the sun has set, that I’ve been napping for the last hour, and should probably do something about dinner that I realise my productive whirlwind has wound down to more of a laboured huff.

The balance of working and writing is a hard one to maintain. Ideally, writing is where I’d like to pour most of my energy. But to perform my job, and more importantly, to perform it well, requires energy. Who would have thought?

This results in me soldiering through the working day and deflating in the evening. You know motivation is flagging when even the idea of going down to the shops is a herculean effort worthy of three hours of rest, followed by a bowl of ice-cream which leads naturally into a sugar-crash sleep. And that’s not a pretty image.

The point of the exhausted picture I’m painting is that if you want to create something, it requires effort. Finding the balance of dispersing your effort can be a hard thing, and I wouldn’t blame anyone if their creative projects fell to the wayside under the pressure of simply getting through life. But if you want it, more often than not you’ll find putting energy into a creative project gives motivation. You feel like you’ve done something worthy of note, and that you’re getting to the place you want to be.

To steal a quote from Neil Gaiman, it takes you closer to the mountain.

And that’s the secret, I think. When you’re working on what you love, giving effort results in energy. Even as I’m writing this I’m feeling more awake that I have all afternoon because I’m creating. I’m engaging in an activity that is in itself self-rewarding. I’m walking towards my mountain.

Neil Gaiman said it better, so I’ll let his words do the explaining:

For me, it’s important to remind myself of where I want to be heading, and to realign myself now and then when I notice I’m slipping off the path. And it’s important to remember that motivation can be found simply by starting even when I’m feeling tired. Because every word I type gives me energy and gets me closer towards the mountain.

I hope your day included creativity, motivation, and steps towards your mountain.

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