Saturday, 31 January 2015

Pressuring Productivity

I can safely say I have just gone through one of the busiest (work-wise) January's I think I've ever had. Learning new skills, desperately trying to keep up with the tasks and events that come up; it's been a total mind-melt. You know, that feeling when you get home, like there's a sloshy sound in your skull, only relieved with crap TV and junk food. That.

This though is not a complaint. One of the reasons I was so dissatisfied in my previous job(s) was the feeling of not having much to do, and that what I was doing didn't really matter or get noticed much. In contrast everything I do now is under a microscope and does have an impact on how many people engage with the streaming service I work for. If I fuck up they won't know about the latest addition or those really cool shows we made (*cough* watch Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle *cough*). So job satisfaction is pretty high, even if stress levels aren't far behind.

The consequence has been not a lot of my own writing has been happening. Aside from getting home late more often than not, my inspiration energy points are pretty low even when I do get back at a decent time. This has also resulted in fewer tweets, Facebook posts or blog updates. And I really couldn't care less. Which is why I'm here, typing again.

I've realised I've been putting pressure on myself, and feeling obligated, to write. To be productive. With the knock on effect that it just seems like a huge mountain each time I take on any of these small acts of creation. So I procrastinated, put things off and then just never did them. But this last month I've purposely put my energy into my day-job, recognising that this would mean I have less to put into other things. And that that's okay.

One of the worst things for any creative endeavour is resenting the act of creating, feeling like you're being made to do it. With the constant mantras of having to write daily, or put 10,000 hours into your craft before you'll be any good, it's very easy to get bogged down. Well, I've discovered not giving a shit has made me more, not less, productive. I still think about my stories, making small notes about how I can work out plot or character points that aren't working. And I write a small amount whenever I can make the time. But I no longer feel guilty for blowing the writing off to play Dragon Age: Inquisition (love it), or reading the final book in the Wool trilogy (amazing) or watching yet another episode of Community (cool, cool, cool). The removal of that pressure has released me to enjoy it all again, and just do what I can. And knowing, one way or another, that it will be enough.*

They'd only end up covering you in pink and blue anyway.
*Not that this is a green-light to being a lazy git; if you truly want to be something in your life you can't just sit about and wait for the fairies to come along and grant your wish. You've got to do something - but that something doesn't have to crush you under its boot of demands. 

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