Sadness, Creativity, Habits, Motivation & More

Posted by on November 5, 2009 in creativity, habits, writing | 0 comments

So far in writing this blog, I have found that some sorts of pain motivate me to work harder, and exercise helps me feel more like writing.  Sometimes even a rough day at work makes me come home feeling motivated to write like a madwoman to try and build this freelance business faster.

The connection between motivation, creativity and the formation of habits seems to be an evolving theme for me.  Of course, creativity doesn’t “strike.” It is a product of practice or habit.  You have to keep approaching a sticky problem from different angles, suffering failure and trying again and again to solve it.  Being motivated to work on whatever it is you need to work on is the first step to forming the habit of working on it, and having the habit triggers creativity, which makes you feel motivated. Ah, what a good cycle to be stuck in!

It doesn’t usually work like that, though.  For me, it’s hard to feel motivated after working all day. Then I mentally beat myself up for not working and then I’m trapped in the wrong cycle. Today I read an article about how maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all. I’m not sure I agree that depression is good, but I do know that it is natural.

I don’t want to take any kind of “happy pill.” My mother always said I enjoyed “wallowing in a pit of self pity” and she may have been on to something.  Not all the time, but sometimes, I don’t mind feeling sad.  There has to be balance. You can’t just go around joyfully counting your blessings all the time.  Sadness is normal. Grief is part of being human. It really is okay to be down and out once in a while. You just can’t dwell there for too long. Don’t make a habit of it.

Please understand, I’m not talking about clinical depression here. That is an entirely different condition.  I’m only talking about “the blues,” feeling sad for a week or two at the most. If it goes on any longer, seek help, don’t endanger yourself.

Usually when I’m down for a few days, I get over it by making lists.  My husband will look at me sometimes and say “Why don’t you make a list, dava? That might help.” He knows me pretty well. I make lists of what is bothering me, goals I want to reach, steps I need to take, and so on. The lists feel like maps.  They show me the way to feeling better.  It’s almost as if the period of sadness can be the motivator.

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