On Creation v. Consumption: Working the “Write” Muscle

I stomped into March with the greatest of intentions– every inclination was pointed toward my writing goals.

I started out strong, in my private little writing bubble. I was making a point of writing as much as I could in my free time. I thought of more defined, tangible goals to meet. I was having fun and feeling motivated.

My blog writing was kind of pushed to the back. I justified this by saying that I was spending more time on my literary fiction writing in an attempt to meet my newly established goals. That, and I was second-guessing what my blog was supposed to be. I still am.

Hand-in-hand with writing, I also made a point to start reading more. I’ve always loved reading, but as time goes on I tend to slide into complacency (as, I imagine, most people do).

I was doing well at the beginning of the month. I was feeling great for about half of the month. But, little by little, my creative exercise lessened and I slipped up. I opted for a “Chopped” marathon instead of finishing Frankenstein. I began to play a newly released video game every morning instead of devoting my time to writing, even just a little bit, every morning. That downward march away from my goals and my livelihood extended through the rest of the month.

Sure, it’s only been about two weeks. But that’s a long time. That’s time spent consuming when I could have been creating and taking more steps toward realizing my writing aspirations.

It’s a hard balance to maintain– juggling creation with consumption, on top of working a menial day job to pay for life. After a stressful day, it’s a whole lot easier (and more relaxing) to boot up the PlayStation than it is to sit alone in the office and bang my head against the keyboard.

But that relaxing, unwinding element of entertaining consumption is so short-lived. Pretty soon, that sense of unfulfilled dread seeps in and spoils all the fun, leaving you thinking, “Well, shit. I’m not going anywhere in life.”

Creative exercise is a lot like physical exercise. You don’t just wake up and suddenly have a toned abdomen without working for it, nor do you suddenly have the strength and ease it takes to do the exercise. You have to build it up, little by little. You have to teach yourself the moves. You have to try.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m still trying to figure out how to stretch and build my creative muscles. I’m still trying to learn the moves that work for me, and keep things in balance. I just slipped up a little– which is perfectly okay. How else do people learn if they can’t make mistakes?

Sitting there and watching others make food during a “Chopped” marathon is a lot of fun, but ultimately useless. By the end, your time is used up and you’re left without a meal.

What do you guys do to stay motivated?
Do you have any tips for maintaining a balance between play and work?
Who’s your fave judge on Chopped? (Kidding, mostly.)

I’d love to hear some feedback!

— J. S.

One thought on “On Creation v. Consumption: Working the “Write” Muscle

  1. That ‘balance-finding’ thing has been a challenge for me. I tend to neglect my relaxed, creative self in favor of my productive self. Just as hard and probably not as healthy. Love your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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