I haven’t written any creative stories in about six months, maybe longer. Like most people I attributed this to a flaw with myself. I’m lazy, I’m unmotivated, and I’m paralyzed by perfection, unable to even begin at the prospect of making something subpar. Despite knowing all these flaws I still can’t work with myself and actually write. It adds another layer of personal hatred where I’m aware that I’m aware of my severe lack of motivation and why can’t I just sit my ass down and write?
I like to justify my laziness as well. You have a long day at work or your mood is subpar and it’s easy to not write. “Maybe tomorrow,” I’ll tell myself. Repeat day after day and you’re left where tomorrow holds all the promise of productive but where it’s always tomorrow. One more day of being a lazy bastard won’t hurt right?
One way I justified my lack of writing goes something like this: I can’t ever write in a comfortable place. I’m writing this at work on my phone but this isn’t ideal. A pair of thumbs on a phone screen doesn’t work nearly as well as
10 9 of them on a keyboard does (honest question: does anyone use their left thumb for anything?). Where do I write at home? Nowhere. I don’t have a place to write, no comfy desk, no isolated corner, no hole to crawl into and think. My best options were to plop down on a couch (which is terrible for posture) and try my best to ignore all the talking going on around me, the drone of the TV, whatever noise pollution is going on. Sitting on a couch, where do you put your mug of coffee? Where does the vape get placed between sentences and paragraphs? How can you listen to music and not be rude to those watching TV? Where do you plug in the laptop when the battery shits out? How do you use a USB mouse on a couch? How do you get over the anxiety of someone sitting next to you looking at what you’re working on? You don’t, so I don’t write at home as much as I should.
This sounds like a valid justification I suppose, but this is just me being lazy. Authors all over the place can write in more hostile environments than these, so I’m being a little bitch basically. But what if I’m not?
The past few months I’ve had the creeping suspicion that if I had a nice place to work I’d actually be more productive. Sure I’m not motivated to write like ever, but maybe having a nice workspace would be a tiny bit of goodness that can get my ass in gear. The one thing that’ll make the motivation battle much easier to wage.
I told my therapist about this and she suggested I go ahead and get myself a place for myself to work. Hmm. Since I had sobered up I find myself much more willing and able to fix problems as they arise. It’s an easy formula to enact as well; if there’s a problem you fix it. I want to write, I think the problem is a lack of a workspace, so get a workspace! Nothing is ever accomplished by stewing about the problem. Take your life into your own hands because it’s literally the one and only thing you always have. My sober mindset is really helping me be proactive in life and not just some grumpy passenger along for the ride who bitches about everything.
Luckily I didn’t have to solve the problem for myself. For Valentine’s Day my wife surprised me with a cheap and simple desk. My mind was blown away! It’s about the best gift ever: supportive of my hobbies, thoughtful, and practical. She even went through the trouble of moving the furniture around and making a spot for it. I now have a slight “office area” in our living room, tucked up against the south wall. I don’t have to worry about people peeking over my shoulder. I can survey the room. I can be present if I need to be but off in my own world if I see fit to do so. There are a few windows near me so the sun shines in and I can stare at my solar panels when I struggle to write something. Speaking of solar power, my desk is right next to the batteries/inverter so my computer, the thing I’m editing this on right now, is fully powered by the sun!
(The modem and the Wi-Fi router are also solar powered. This is a completely solar-powered blog post. Even my vape, the key to productive writing, is solar powered. I guess this is a perfect time to shill my YouTube channel where I talk about all of my solar powered madness. It keeps it out of my blog posts for the most part but I’ve failed miserably this time. Check it out if you’re interested in making your own solar-powered blog posts/phone/vape.)
The desk has three shelves that I can junk up with wires, wire nuts, electrical tape, light bulbs, lithium batteries, vape juice, vape pods, a multimeter, alligator clips, pens, notebooks, and whatever else I decide to put there. It’s delightfully junky, but in a curious tinkerer sort of way; you can tell I’m actually doing work at/near the desk. (Electroboom said something in a recent video like, “You’re not a real engineer unless your desk is messy.”) I bought a tiny Lego set to decorate my desk; it’s a cute electric car with a wind/solar car charger. It even has a little dog with it! I grabbed an old lamp from the basement and booked it into the solar setup and swapped the 60 Watt bulb with a 20W one. Nothing beats that dim, warm light and it looks exactly like you’d expect a light at a writer’s desk to be: candle-like. I also bought two small potted plants to decorate the workspace — a pothos and a Japanese crispy fern — whatever the hell those are.
Basically my desk is awesome. I love it. Thank you Nicki, I love it more than you’re probably aware. But I’m not trying to jerk-off about my desk here; I’m trying to stress the importance of fixing problems and not shitting on yourself too much. It seems a large part of my writing problem was actually the lack of a desk and not just motivation issues or me being lazy even though those are still some big issues. It’s easy to blame yourself but sometimes the world does kinda conspire against you and it’s up to you to fix it. Sure you have flaws, we all do, but you gotta learn how to work with them. I’m apparently a “comfy writer” and need a proper place to sit down and write. I’m a little bitch who wants to be comfy and drink coffee while I deal with motivation issues while staring at a blank Google Doc. I guess that’s how I am. So I played right into it, babied myself, and
bought was gifted a desk. “Aww, poor Jeremy needs his own area to write in, a little desk to call his own!” Yes, exactly. That’s exactly what little bitch Jeremy needs to be able to write. And hey, I’m writing something aren’t I?
TL;DR: Be nice to yourself. Be accommodating. Buy a desk. And buy yourself a Lego set and a few potted plants. It’s the key to success and happiness and writing productivity.
Check out my other blog where I sometimes post stories.