As I sit on the floor, writing this post, I’ve realized that the cause of my inconsistencies on this blog are due to lack of inspiration.
I have nothing to write about.
I just don’t feel like writing.
I have a long list of possible blogging topics, yet none of them cause that little tingling feeling telling me it’s time to write the idea up.
And stupidly, I’ve ignored these problems because it’s perfectly normal, right? To write something meaningful, I have to mean it myself. I have to pour my entire soul into each word, otherwise it’s not a good blog post after all.
Somewhere in my brain, I’ve separated blogging from the rest of my writing. And I’ve set up different standards for when and how I write.
I’m sure you’ve felt this before. You just don’t feel inspired to do the laundry, so you don’t. You just don’t feel inspired to get up in the morning and exercise. You just don’t feel inspired to keep up with the ridiculous note taking method you’ve developed because you have zero clue how to take notes in a college course.
We all want to feel passionate about the things we do. We want to be in the right mood to do them to produce the best product possible. And in a utopia, somehow that “tingly feeling” happens every day at some point and you can consistently get things done.
In the writing community, we don’t believe in inspiration. Okay, sure being successful involves feeling excited about your writing and dredging up the motivation to continue, but if everything hung on moments of inspiration, there would be no books.
Consistency is key. And consistency is key to everything – not just in the writing world.
Reason #1: Inspiration comes and goes
Like I said before, inspiration is that flaky friend you have that says they’ll be available for dinner but then forgets and is already busy with other things.
Often times, I wait for inspiration to strike for this blog. I spend all week going about my business, occasionally wondering what I’ll write about for next Monday, and then scrambling to dredge something up from consciousness on Sunday afternoon – and in bad cases, Monday morning.
But waiting for an idea to accidentally float my way isn’t productive and, as you may have noticed, causes me to pretend Monday doesn’t exist and I don’t, in fact, have a blog post due.
I had inspiration earlier this week about what to write, but by Saturday (when I’m writing this – one of the few times I’m disciplined enough to prepare a post earlier) that inspiration was gone. The idea was dry and flavorless. I had no thoughts.
What might inspire you a couple hours ago may be a dead idea by the time you get around to using it – or while you’re in the middle of using it.
If you’re waiting for that magic inspiration to nudge you forward, it’s going to fail you.
Reason #2: Relying on Inspiration will not create consistent motivation
My motivation to write this is lacking.
My lower back hurts (hence the reason I’m sitting on the floor with a couple of plush pillows to support myself).
I feel kinda sick * – not COVID, but like I ate some bad food from the dining halls. Which is a serious problem considering I share a public bathroom with forty other girls.
There is not a drop of inspiration in me to write this at all – except maybe to poke fun at myself for being such a hypocrite.
See, I have this other story I’m writing called “The All-Knowing” (link) that is kinda not my favorite anymore. I was super pumped to start writing it back in April, but my motivation to continue is draining away.
Yet, I still write. Any extra time I get (at least on the weekends, even when I’m super busy), I dedicate to writing this dull book. I force myself to sit down and type out the next plot point.
Why? Because I write novels. And novels don’t get finished unless you… finish them. And who knows, maybe the crap I’m writing now is actually really good and just needs a few rounds of edits.
So why don’t I have the same mentality with this blog? Why am I okay with skipping a Monday for lack of inspiration? I’ve trained myself to wait until I have an idea, rather than stealing an idea off my list of previous ideas I’ve never written, and this doesn’t cause any motivation at all.
How do I expect myself to stay consistent if my motivation relies on the subject matter of my post rather than the end goal of this blog?
Reason #3: Consistency (not inspiration) is what gets things done
Do you think I possess any inkling of inspiration to read about ocean sediments in my oceanography course?
Yet, I still have to read one chapter of the textbook per week and prove I kinda understood the material. I could read all seven or eight sections of a single chapter in one sitting, which equals about 50 pages of information I don’t need as a psychology or creative writing major.
Instead of putting myself through that torture, I just read a section a day. Consistently. Even though I lack inspiration.
To actually accomplish anything ever, you have to be consistent about it.
The most annoying thing to me about exercise is that I have to do it consistently for a couple months before seeing actual results. Wouldn’t it be nice to just wake up early and go on a run when the inspiration hits, and then just enjoy the effects of a fit body immediately?
If our world worked like that, it’d be full of even more impatient people.
Especially for things we don’t like doing – chores, waking up, chores (because I literally can’t think of anything I dislike more than dishes) – inspiration won’t cut it.
We need to be consistent if we don’t want our lives to totally crumble around us.
Reason #4: Inspiration is not a habit
Unfortunately, habits are what keep us on track.
If we wanted our inspiration to impact our motivation, which will then make us consistent, that would be called magic.
We should not practice witchcraft in our daily live. Only on special occasions.
In marching band, my band director always said that good marching – staying in step, having strong posture – should become a habit, so you really only have to focus on the music while you’re performing. That’s why we always did hours of drills (outside, in the summertime, in a desert) – to get that technique down until it becomes habit.
The truth is, habits take a while to form. We can’t just sit and think real hard about all the habits we want and then just have them appear in our lives. We have to consistently pursue a habit – which takes willpower at first before it settles into second nature.
And it’s just as easy to lose a habit by allowing other things (like inspired whims of passion) to get in the way.
During the summer, I always try to form the habit of writing everyday. I have no school to worry about, and with a flexible work schedule, this habit was pretty easy to form. And this last summer was no different.
Until, that is, I started watching TV. All. The. Time.
This was quarantine time. It felt like nothing mattered anyways. I would literally sit in front of the TV for hours with my younger sister, watching The Office or Parks and Recreation. I rewatched Avatar: The Last Airbender (again). I watched all of season one of the Babysitter’s Club in one sitting while I organized jewelry pieces for work.
And once I started watching TV constantly, I couldn’t find the consistency to write too. All that hard work of forming a habit was broken because I chose to do something easier.
Reason #5: Consistency is hard, and hard is good
It’s so easy for me to feel inspired to go out and eat some good Mexican food.
But, if for instance, I’m trying to consistently cut back on how much cheese I eat, this becomes a problem.
Inspiration is so nice and cozy – we want to follow it wherever it leads. It makes us feel happy and content with our lives, and really makes us feel productive in the moment.
Consistency is not so much fun. Consistency is that strict teacher you had in elementary school that never let you doodle on the handheld whiteboards while doing math problems. Sometimes it feels like there’s no wiggle room – we have to always be consistent in the same exact way and there’s never any personality to it.
I’m not gonna lie. Consistency is super hard to keep up with. Because sometimes you just don’t feel like doing anything. And if you do do something, it’s has to be done correctly, otherwise it doesn’t count. Sometimes you have a conflicting inspiration that you want to follow instead.
It’s okay to follow those flitting urges to get Mexican food sometimes. But not if those inspirations – or lack of inspirations – are causing you to become less consistent.
The only way to actually achieve something is to be consistent. And actually achieving something, in itself, is a hard task. And we don’t really look forward to those hard tasks – I mean, if I could just never do another speech for my speech class, I would choose that route immediately. But I know that these consistent (and annoying) speeches are helping me grow as a speaker – and will satisfy the speaking requirement for my major so I can actually graduate and pursue a meaningful career.
Sometimes inspiration is hard to come by, but it’s not hard to follow. Consistency is a daily commitment that inspiration never asks for – but it’s a commitment that will be beneficial in the end.
The irony of this post is astounding.
I am all too aware I am not a consistent person. In fact, I’ve become even more flaky over the years even though I’ve been trying harder not to be.
Honestly, this post is a reset. I can’t promise I’ll always post, but I’m resetting my brain for this blog. Because inspiration doesn’t cut it when you’re handling something you care about.
* As another note, it turns out I had food poisoning on Saturday. So while I believe everything I said… you should also listen to your wellbeing and maybe consider that forcing yourself to write a blog post while handling food poisoning is not the proper way to take care of oneself.