Throughout my life, my pattern has been that the busier I am, the more I’m able to accomplish. I fall into a mode where motion begets more motion and the energy that is created propels me from one activity to another. However, there is a downside to that pattern, which is that it is exhausting and often brings on cold after flu after sinus infection.
These days I’m hanging out on the other end of the intensity spectrum, granted with a little more time to pursue my own projects and interests thanks to the bounty of student loans. When I first planned this year and a half of grad school, the thing I looked forward to the most was all of the time that would unfold in front of me, to do with what I wanted (the hope was that I would be graced with abudant creative inspiration and produce fiction and food writing to my heart’s content).
Unfortunately, despite all the time and freedom, I’m having a hell of a time getting anything done. Without the intensity of multiple activities and priorities, I find that I drift through the days, finally settling into work around 1:30 or 2 pm. That would be fine if I didn’t then seem to still find it appropriate to make plans with friends for the afterwork hours. Then there’s the class that forces me out of my apartment around 5:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays until the end of June.
The realization I’ve come to is that I need to create some pressure and intensity (although not too much) for myself in order to get things done. I’m working on a schedule and I’m trying to treat my projects for the summer as if they were jobs and not just things I’m doing for my own joy and edification. I think the thing that will ultimately pull me through is the knowledge that if I totally squander this time, an opportunity like this may not come my way again. And that’s scary enough to motivate me into action.
Back when I was in NJ, I found that joining a writer’s circle worked. Gave me deadlines, put the pressure on, and man, it really gave me that little push I needed to buckle down and work.