Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mind Control

I like working. I like being industrious and getting things done, and I like the feeling of accomplishment I get after a long day's work or completion of a project. A lazy day to me generally still consists of things like running around, going for a hike, going out to eat, reading a book, watching a movie, surfing the Internet, and hanging out with friends. Not terribly productive things, usually, but also not sedentary. I like to be active in some way. 

But over the last few years, I started to notice a feeling of resentment about the diversion of my thoughts during the workday that made it very difficult to get anything done. I really began to despise using my mental energy to think about things that I thought were meaningless. Things like figuring out how to promote products I didn't think were useful, which, sadly, was something I routinely had to do. Things like engaging in really, really inane email exchanges with clients that were too disorganized or short on time to effectively manage their projects. And it got to be so overwhelming that I started to kind of grind to a halt. My pattern would be that I would get into work, read emails, open up a few documents I should have been working on or reviewing, but then spend the first couple of hours messing around online, fielding emails as soon as they came in, and not diving into the work I should have been doing. (I'm realizing as I write this that this sounds like that scene from Office Space. Damn that movie is brilliant.) And then I'd basically play a frantic game of catch-up in the late afternoon hours.

I know the general reaction to such an admission is that I need to face it, work is work, and that I just need to learn to cope with this unfortunate fact. BUT I CAN'T.  If I've learned anything from this period of searching and exploration, it's that I cannot force myself to do things I don't care about. It just doesn't work for me the way that others seem to make it work. It ends in me breaking down. But I like to think I'm pretty realistic about the ramifications of this fact. I'll probably be broke, at least for the next few years. And I don't expect that I'll ever have a job that will feel like a picnic. In fact, I feel like whatever great job that I do end up with - and I will end up with one - will feel torturous a lot of the time. But in the best way, where I know that when I've finished my efforts will actually be worth something. At least to me.

So I know that whatever I end up doing, it won't be something that drains my thoughts without some kind of payoff. This means I could well end up doing something mindless that would let me focus on what I really want to do, which is write. The hard part now is to decide in what capacity I want to write. Whether it's for work, or whether I keep it in my own time, I don't know. All I know is that I have to do it.

Also, just came across this quote on my Google homepage. Nevermind that I have no idea what "phlogiston" mean - I'll look it up.

"The real writer is one who really writes. Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the fact of fire. Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved." - Marge Piercy



Posted via web from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

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