This is a confession, a self-imposed intervention, and an outright plea for advice, all rolled into one (because I’m too lazy to do them individually). I’ve been self-employed (read: jobless) for three weeks, now, and my SELF is not doing nearly enough EMPLOYING of my time in a productive (read: money-earning) manner.
Although I have managed to accomplish a little writing, a little work for Washington Romance Writers, and a little editing that I’m doing for a friend, I have yet to achieve a big “Done.” Rather, I feel like I’m racking up “half-dones,” and not progressing in a substantial way towards my goals.
When left to my own devices, I am lazier than a sloth in a shady tree on a hot day. My two favorite things to do at the moment are: 1) lie in bed and read, and 2) drive around the countryside with an iced coffee, looking at the pretty scenery and listening to audiobooks (or music, or the beating of my own heart, or the voices in my head – whatever fits the mood of the day). Both of these are worthwhile activities (or so I keep telling myself!) but neither of them will get books written, boxes unpacked, or prevent my muscles from atrophying.
The most frustrating part of all this is that I know how fortunate I am to have this time and space in which to create a new kind of life for myself. I don’t want to waste it.
Any advice for me? Will I have to go back to working a day job to feel like I’m accomplishing something, or can I actually do this full-time writing thing successfully?
9 thoughts on “I Am The World’s Laziest Person”
Goals are reached through motivation, determination and positive habits. Motivation comes from when the pain of not reaching for your goals is greater than the fear of failure and hedonistic joy of short term distractions. As a writer, I suggest you write two short stories. One in which you continue down a path with only haphazard effort to write for income and one in which you dedicate yourself and can start to support yourself through writing. Determination is mainly willpower. It is good for short term wins but not for the long haul. Try to apply it in bits throughout a day or week. Positive habits are likely the most powerful. Create tiny habits anchored throughout your day. Phrased something like, I will write for 20 minutes after my shower. Etc. Celebrate yourself every time you do this. Additionally, you may want to try temptation bundling. That is go for your drive but when you reach somewhere interesting, you have to stop the car and write for 30 minutes. Writing is the cost of the drive. Keep at it. You’ll get it.
Wow, thanks for the advice! Really appreciate it! 🙂 I especially like your point that “Motivation comes from when the pain of not reaching for your goals is greater than the fear of failure and hedonistic joy of short term distractions.” I think that’s very true. I will definitely be utilizing some of your suggestions. Thanks again! 🙂
Admin scale. Love you.
Ah, the perfect Mom advice: short, sweet, and totally on-point. Yes ma’am, I’ve been working on that (in between reading, sleeping and driving aimlessly). 😉 Love you too! And I truly do appreciate your advice, and I will be taking it. 🙂
Hey, you’re still getting OUT of bed and going places, so that’s not completely lazy. It is surprisingly hard to make yourself write once you’re home. I started doing stuff around the house now that I had time–cleaning the bathroom, the kitchen, organizing dresser drawers, reading “now that I have the time”, etc. It took a while to get into the groove. I also had an epiphany one day when I was out running errands, glanced at the clock and thought, “Great–it’s almost 5 p.m.! Soon I’m allowed to write!” and realized my subconscious had suppressed the “write” urge during the “day job” hours, and I hadn’t realized it. Telling myself it is OKAY now to write between 8 and 5 was huge.
Wow, it’s good to know I’m not the only one who’s had this problem! Yes, I think you’ve really hit something there with the idea of giving oneself permission to write. Sometimes I think fondly of sitting down and putting fingers to keyboard, and then I get an instant guilt reaction, like there’s something else I should be doing. Funny how we can train ourselves OUT of being creative! Thanks so much, Rowan! Really appreciate it! 🙂
Since life hasn’t given you structure, you need to create it yourself, Misha. That’s the hardest part of being “self-employed”. Set a schedule for yourself — and remember it’s perfectly fine if “8:30am – 10: Read and laze in bed”is part of your schedule. 🙂 I exercise every morning at 7am (so that I can do so with my husband before he heads out to work), do mindless work all morning (formatting and marketing) and write in the afternoon when my creativity is at it’s peak. And I’m trying to get more strict about my writing time — too often my mindless time has spilled over and I realize it’s 5pm before I even sit down to write. But I’ve still got a rough schedule. You just need one of those too. And, hey, are you editing now? Copy editing or developmental editing? I’m asked frequently if I know any editors who have time. And could use one myself every so often. 🙂
Oh, structure, my old enemy! 😉 But yes, you hit the nail on the head: I no longer have a day job telling me I have to be somewhere at a certain time and perform certain functions. I have to be my own boss, and require a certain output of myself. And structuring my day to maximize that output (and maximize my enjoyment of it) is an integral part of the process. Sigh. It’s a tough truth, but I’ve been ignoring it too long! Thanks so much for helping me to face it. 🙂
Regarding the editing, I’m helping a friend to get his work in shape to indie publish. It’s mostly copy editing. I wouldn’t mind working with other writers, but I’m not totally ready to hang out a shingle yet. When I am, I’ll definitely let you know! Thanks! 🙂