Sometimes there are days when I don’t feel up to doing the two things I love to do: write and weight train. Over the past years I’ve battled with how to deal with this dilemma. How to keep going, even when I’m not motivated to do it – for that day, of course. I’ve realized, sometimes, I don’t have to. Sometimes it’s okay to take a break and recharge to save the integrity of my efforts.
I understand this could easily be confused by me making excuses to not give as much effort as I could, should I want to succeed in my ambition. That it might be some telltale sign I’m not “meant” to write. This is not so. I still want to write – however little – when I may be busy with work or social obligations. I still lift if I’m sore or trying to talk myself out of it: “it’s too late” or “I still have a rest day I can take for this week.” Well now the previous paragraph sounds contradictory. It is, and it isn’t. I believe there’s a difference between not doing what you love because you lost your ambition (being lazy) and because you genuinely need to take a break or end up losing what made you love doing what you love. This last reason is where the distinction lies.
It’s better to wait and rest before taking the task back up again. I don’t want to do something just because I have to do it. I should want to do something because I need to do it. I don’t want to half ass something out of imagined obligation and paranoia. I choose not to carry on from what other people say. I would rather hold off and give it my full attention at a later time. Some may ask is there a certain time frame, a rule or guideline to know when the pause is enough? Unfortunately, no. Unfortunate that is for those who do not understand this principle. Only the individual taking the pause can know when it is time. And when one accepts this method, with full confidence and assurance in its effectiveness, they will know for how long they will need.
As it happens, I’ve also read another article from one of my favorite athletic apparel sites – Wolaco – when they interviewed one of their own team members. He discussed a similar opinion about how if you don’t do something with full commitment, what’s the point? Refer specifically to ‘What keeps you up at night?’
To apply it recently: the past couple weeks I had picked up reading comics. I had wanted to read more since last year after my Comic Book class for my major, and I found myself really invested in the stories. I marveled at re-experiencing the beauty of visual and written art working hand-in-hand to create spectacular tales of epic proportions. Consequently, I wrote less. I read these comics on the way to and from work and on my breaks (which were only 15 minutes). Before, I whipped myself into thinking I had to cram writing into every minute of these short intervals. Granted, it had been working for a time in my previous role, but after so long, my resolve could not take the unnecessary abuse.
I realized this was not the right course of action. Forcing myself to write without taking the time to enjoy the process isn’t why I write. I write to escape and to want others to join me in my adventures: for the love of story. I’m not writing just to get published or meet some self-appointed deadline. By sacrificing this available time during the work hours to enjoy the material of others, I am absorbing good storytelling and doing my homework for when I sit down to my own craft. I have to practice like I do in the gym in order to develop what I love and to grow physically and mentally. I can’t do things just to do them. I don’t half-ass if I really want to fulfill my ambition. Neither should you.
Only you can determine when you are being lazy or in need of rest.