Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Motivation (or lack thereof, in my case)

This is the definition I found in my Webster dictionary – “that which incites to action, or moves the will; to impel; to induce.”

If I’m not mistaken, I’m sure there has been at least one blog on how to motivate an author to write. And the answers would vary; take a break, read another genre, write short stories.

But what if the lack of motivation is a physiological problem? That would be me.

I hope I’m not grossing out anyone, but I’m in the initial stages of menopause. And while this is another transitional phase in a woman’s life, I’m finding it to be a pain in the ass.

Why? Well, let’s see. One of the physical aspects such as no more menstrual cycles (yay!) is helpful – my cycles were fairly regular, so I knew when to expect them. But other aspects such as the weight gain, forgetfulness, body changes, insomnia and hot flashes / night sweats? I can do without those.

The one trait that hit me very hard this past winter was depression. Everyone has their ups and downs, including yours truly – but when you feel as if you’re at the bottom of a well and can’t get out, that is NOT good. And I felt like that for three months. It was scary and it was aggravating.

And the mood swings? Oh ho, let’s not go there! I made my younger female colleague at work very nervous. She knew what was going on, but didn’t know how to handle it. Poor thing; she got many profuse apologies.

But what I’m getting at is, as an author, my writing hit rock bottom. Yup, you couldn’t get me to look at the computer unless I had to (and I had to at work). When I got home, all I wanted to do was sleep and eat and be left alone.

A dear friend had very gently suggested medication (and she wouldn't suggest it unless she felt that she had to). At one time, it was enough to raise my ire. But now I’m starting to seriously consider it. You see, my friend has told me that I’ve changed, and not for the better. The revelation hurt, but I had to really analyze myself to finally understand that yeah, I’m different. I’m not the outgoing, talkative, energetic, motivated gal I used to be – I’m the absolute opposite. I sure hope that changes when my hormones settle down.

But in the meantime it means – ta da! – zero writing. Thank heavens I’m not on deadline, or I’d really piss off my editor. And oh yeah, the best part? This could go on for another TWO years!!

Thankfully, the weather here in Toronto, Canada has improved immensely; more sun and warmer temperatures, which has improved my mood. But seriously, other than taking pills, how the hell can I ‘motivate’ myself to continue writing during this so-called ‘transition’? I’m exercising a bit more; I haven’t seen any results yet, but I’m going to keep at it. Another friend suggested concentrating on short stories – I’ll give that some consideration, too.

Anyone “been there, done that, got the t-shirt?” Any other suggestions would be gratefully received.

P.S. My posting is on a Wednesday, and I’ll be at my EDJ, so please don’t think I’m ignoring you; it just means I haven’t had a chance to look at the blog!


Tina Donahue said...

Sorry you're feeling so poorly, Char. Have you tried any herbal remedies?

Renee Vincent said...

Charlene, I do hope you get back on track soon and kick this depression. Exercising is good...very glad you are staying active. Let the writing take a break...the long hiatus may be just what you need to be inspired.

Wishing you the best, hon!

Liz said...

not to sound like a broken record but...EXERCISE...of any form. regular brisk walks, yoga (the hot kind is best), a swim, anything to get your body moving. Trust me I speak from hard core experience on this.
best of luck to you dear.

jean hart stewart said...

Menopause can be the pits. Long walks, especially now the weather is improving, really will help. Don't knock it.. which will be your first impulse...

Fiona McGier said...

No words of wisdom, alas. It's just to be endured. I Jazzercise for exercise, which keeps me abreast of what is considered new pop music (which I never liked when younger and see no reason to change my mind about now!) and I depend on my young adult kids to put new music they know I will like on my I-Pod.
Try to get enough sleep, and find some way to stimulate your mind, like crosswords or learning a new language. That will keep you feeling more mentally alert.
And bitch to whichever close friends you can get to listen...I find that plying them with wine usually keeps them sitting long enough for me to feel better!

Charlene Roberts said...

Hey everyone! Sorry I didn't pop in sooner; swamped with work today!

Charlene Roberts said...

Thanks, T.

I've tried most things at my health food store. Once they get over the "how OLD are you?" they recommend tonics. So far, nada. But I continue to look. I'm thinking I need stronger doses.

Charlene Roberts said...

Renee, so do I! This is not me, it's some evil soul that's taken over my body! lol

I've realized that I'll write when the mood hits me, and back away whwn the muse disappears. It's been difficult to do, but easier on my emotions.

Liz, thank you for the words of experience. My new trainer has told me this too (no hot stud this time! :( So I've booked her 1x / week to hold me accountable. I'm hoping to increase that soon. And eating better too. Carbs become a girl's best friend during those mood swings, I've learned!

Charlene Roberts said...

Hey Jean!

My best friend has been dragging me out as soon as the weather turned nice and it has helped my mood. And you're right - any excuse I can think of NOT to exercise, and it takes me over!

Charlene Roberts said...

Hi Fiona.

I agree, it's to be endured; I just wish there was an easier way of enduring it! I had never thought it would hit so hard. The hot flashes/night sweats I can deal with; the weight gain? ok. Mood swings? So long as I warn people in the vicinty, fine. But the depression? That was the killer, and especially during the winter months.

Crosswords have saved me, and using my dusty old Playstation has kept me amused at night! lol

And now that my friends have more or less gotten used to this new me, they've adopted, and I couldn't be more proud of them! lol

Charlene Roberts said...

Thanks everyoone for your comments. It's been a rough road, but as Fiona says, it has to be endured, though the glasses of wine might do ME good instead of my friends! lol