Monday, December 29, 2008

Morning Motivation

Looking out my window (my desk faces it so I can always be in tune with the world outside), I'm watching the sky turning various shades of pale blue, pink, and purplish-gray as the sun pushes above the horizon to light the morning. It is my best time to write - no phone calls, no dog interruptions (Molly is still sleeping), no television blaring (my husband is still asleep, too), and, with an outside world just coming to life, I find it easy to concentrate and be productive. But this morning, I'm doing more sky watching than writing.

It's difficult to switch gears after a holiday and get back into work mode. The motivation is there -I always have ideas in my head about writing projects - and certainly, in today's economy, one cannot help but think about ways to increase the family coffers. Still, I find myself wishing for another day of no schedules, sleeping in, enjoying forbidden calories, and visiting with friends and family.

Writers suffer this problem on a regular basis. I'm always reading essays and blogs from other scribes about the pressure to produce, the loneliness, the moral strength found lacking to summon up the muse. Their words give me comfort; I am not alone. The problem with commiserating is that it only serves to make me comfortable in my nonproductive state. So, here I sit, staring at the dawn.

The easiest way to explain to a non-writer why getting started is so hard is to simply explain that writing is work. No matter what one does for a living, there have to be times when one doesn't want to go to work - especially after a particularly lovely holiday when work is the farthest thing from one's mind. But non-writers usually have outside motivation: an alarm clock, a nagging spouse, a daily routine, a boss standing over the desk. Writers have none of that. I am my only motivation.

Having my desk facing the window serves to give me that motivation today. For now the sky is a beautiful blue, the sun is lighting the white clouds, and it sends me the message that it's time to get on with it. But staring at the dawn wasn't wasted. As Flannery O'Connor once said: "The writer should never be ashamed of staring. There is nothing that does not require his attention." So, there you are. Staring finished, now to creating - hopefully.

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