I struggle with motivation. For various reasons. I lament that I am unable to 'get things done' or accomplish the tasks I want or need to accomplish. I tend to have periods of intense productivity followed by periods of...not so much productivity.
Take the Felt Leaves. I started stitching them way back in December of 2013, but I didn't post about them until the following April. I wanted to make more for myself after I made the wreath for my best friend. I cut them out and...promptly ran out of steam. And the stacks of cut leaves languished. Occasionally I would make a few stitches. Finally, recently, I finished them all.
Last summer, before I went on my Birthday trip to Vancouver, I bought a couple of bargain books. One I took on the trip, Rosanne Cash's memoir, Composed. The other was a book about Betsy Ross. It's a good book, but took me over a YEAR to read. The beginning is fascinating, although it goes into more detail about sewing and furniture-making than I ever thought possible. It suffered from too much information, much the same way the Charles Shulz biography did, like the authors wanted to use every bit of research and detail they came across, cramming it all into their respective books. I slogged through the Betsy Ross book until I finally finished it a couple months ago.
By contrast, I read Wild in a week.
For my birthday I ordered Janet Mock's Redefining Realness, and Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, recommended by Suzi Blu. After I finished the Betsy Ross book, I read Janet Mock's book - it's very good, if a difficult read in places, given her life experiences. She mentioned a particular book so often that I wanted to read it: Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. I requested it from Paperbackswap. It was an interesting read - now I'd like to read her autobiography.
So, next I began reading Wild. I enjoyed reading it, although it made me CRAZY how unprepared Cheryl was for roughing-it trail backpacking! But I was reading through it at a quick pace. And I offered to send it to a friend who likes memoirs - I offered her the ones I had, and she'd like to read Janet Mock's, Martha Beck's Expecting Adam, and Wild. And I wanted to mail the box last weekend. I'm also sending her a baby gift. And mailing another box. So I wanted to get it done. (Although we are mailing the boxes this weekend, but I was able to pack and seal it up).
Wild is a little over 300 pages, and I was at about page 200 last Tuesday night. Wednesday I brought the book with me to work and read during my lunch hour, during slow times, and on the bus home. And when I got home, and during the evening. I read over 100 pages Wednesday. And finished the book Thursday night.
So - what happened?
I have been puzzling the past few months over my inability to make progress on several goals, namely weight loss and my art career. I just can't manage to get much of anything done. I'll work on some art tasks, or make some progress on my big canvas piece. And then - ... -? Not. How do I get my butt in gear? What am I missing?
I stayed up late Monday night - we were up late anyway, playing the Star Wars game. Ramit Sethi had one of his live chats and I tuned in about 9:15 pm, since it was accessible via the Kindle. And I thought about what kind of skills I have - skills I hate because of the secretarial work that I do in my jobs that I hate - organizational skills, efficiency, things I just can't manage to do with my own personal goals. I thought: What if I applied these horrible skills for myself, in my own life, not for my job, but for me?
And then I read over 100 pages of a book in one day. Um, yes I can get stuff done.
So, what's different? A deadline? A real deadline as opposed to an 'I'd like to' deadline? How can I do this more often?
I know that creative people cannot wait until 'motivation' strikes. Professional practicing creatives work every day. Every day. They don't wait until they 'feel like it' or are 'in the right mood.' They work. Every. Day.
I don't have an answer, but now I have a solution to work on.