Tag Archives: motivation

Shut Up and Write, Already | BEDA Day 1

I’ve been thinking about identities a lot recently.

DON’T CLICK AWAY YET. This won’t take long.

I, like many others, kind of define myself by what I do. Vlogger, performer, assistant, traveler, they’re all hats I’ve worn over the years. One title I’ve felt particularly distant from recently is one of the one’s I’ve held the longest – writer. I talk so much about writing and wanting to write and other people’s writing…and yet I’m not actually writing all that often.

Part of it is the job. I work 50 hours a week, 90% of which is spent in front of a computer. It’s pretty difficult to motivate yourself to sit in front of a screen and churn out words after doing so for 10 hours straight. Of course, plenty of writers can make it work. I just haven’t quite gotten to that point yet.

Another part of it is that I’ve started writing for other people – and getting paid for it. Which is great! Side hustles are super-important in this economy. However, I’ve found it hard to motivate myself to work on my own stuff when I can whip up a post for a client and make a few bucks. This all sounds more like a #humblebrag than a complaint, but it’s something I’m feeling. I only have so much creative energy to give.

It’s time to put those excuses aside. For this month at least.

In an attempt to get back in the swing of things, I’m taking part in BEDA – Blog Every Day in April. I have attempted these “create something every day” challenges before to varying degrees of success (High Point – completing Vlog Every Day in August in 2011, Low Point – giving up on VEDA after 3 days in 2012). The key to these challenges I’ve found is two-fold:

  1. Preparation – I’m writing some of these posts ahead of time. This might go against the rules in some writers’ minds, but I take “Blog Every Day in April” to mean “Post on your Blog Every Day in April.” And it’s my blog so I make the rules, punk.
  2. Being Okay with Imperfection – When you’re posting something new every day, sometimes it’s more important to just get something online than to make sure it’s the best thing you’ve ever written. Not everything I post this month is going to be great. It probably won’t even be that good. But it’ll be there.

So here we go. 30 posts in 30 days. Will it actually happen? We’ll see. But it doesn’t hurt to try. And I’m trusting y’all to keep me accountable. Comment, share with your friends, nag me on Twitter, whatever you feel like doing. I’m looking forward to this month, y’all.
Here we go.

The Incredible Motivating Power of Hamilton

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with running. In elementary school, I dreaded running laps in gym class, and tried to come up with as many excuses as possible to get out of the mile run test. The first time I finished the test without stopping, I thought I was having a heart attack. I avoided running as much as possible from then on. Still, I’d always get a little envious of my friends on the cross country team. A nice run in the woods after school seemed appealing, but at what cost? I knew I was never going to be a runner, so I never actively pursued it.
Until last week.

Last Friday I woke up early and went to the gym, as I usually aspire to do 2 to 3 times a week. As most of my usual cardio machines were taken, I went for the treadmill. I started running. And then I kept running. After a while I realized I had run a full mile, and I didn’t feel like I was about to collapse and die. “Who am I?” I thought. “Are we in the end times?”

This dramatic change of character was all (well, at least 80%) thanks to the release of the Hamilton original cast recording. As I made my way through each brilliantly-written, produced and performed number, I just wanted to keep going. I was involved in the show, reliving each scene and step in my head. Once I finished up my whole walk/run cardio portion, I actually felt really good and ready to take on the day. Weird, right?

There’s something about this show that makes me want to do something. Alexander Hamilton, or at least the version portrayed in Hamilton, was incredibly prolific throughout his relatively short life. He was always working on something, writing like he was “running out of time.” He wrote 51 of the 85 essays that make up the Federalist Papers, over the course of six months. That amount of writing of that caliber blows my mind. I’ll be impressed if I write that many blog posts over the next six months.

I first saw Hamilton in previews at the Public Theater back in January (#humblebrag). I cried profusely at the end, which almost never happens. It is amazing to watch something come together over 6 years, even if it’s just as a bystander on the internet. But I didn’t know it was going to be that good. More than that, it came into my life at a time when I really needed it. I was just starting out in a new job and wasn’t sure where it was going to take me. When a new assistant position opened up, “My Shot” started playing on a loop in my head and I knew I had to go for it. And I’m incredibly glad I did.

So thank you, Lin-Manuel, for sharing this story. I know I’ll keep coming back to this cast recording for years when I need a kick in the pants, words of comfort, or just something to dance around to in my apartment. And, of course, it will always be in heavy rotation at the gym.