|Quite a rocky road indeed... Photo source|
And on this rocky road, there are disappointments-- no getting around it-- hence the support system (mine embodied by the teacup symbol) and also the need for a system or structure to mitigate the ups and downs.
Another quote that recently piqued my interest as it made the rounds of my twitter-verse actually made me mad when I first read it (totally because of my mindset/ attitude at the time), and it also gets at the need for such a structure:
"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." -Robert Louis Stevenson
What made me angry was that I was feeling particularly used up at that moment, without any more seeds to plant (seeds being creative energy/ motivation in this metaphor), and wishing awfully for some trees to start dropping some fruit my way.
Someone else mentioned in response (love the twitter-verse for that) that you don't want to dip into your seed corn (seed corn here meaning your inner reserves, what you count on for next year's 'food supply' of work) when planting, to which I gave a hearty "Hear, hear!" If you did, there would be nothing left, which means it's unsustainable.
So what qualify as seeds for planting? How do you set up such a system, so that you can weather the ups and downs of life? Try these activities, one of which usually gives me a jump-start back into happy productivity:
Planning / Strategizing: this means establishing and mapping out goals, then backtracking (a la Barbara Sher) the necessary steps to come up with...
Baby steps! These are the little seeds of progress toward the goal you've established: writing an article each week, calling the blog-hosting company for details, asking for a reference, etc. After a lot of these, you've earned...
Breaks from the plodding pace of baby steps that replenish your creative core: attending a writing conference, having a dinner out with friends, and meditating are all fine examples of activities that will, for different types of people, refuel their energy (search for Myers-Briggs introvert vs. extrovert descriptions if you're curious about this). After a bout of this, you'll be ready to return to...
All that background noise. This includes those unpleasant tasks that never seem to make it to the top of your to-do list: decluttering, going to the bank to start that retirement account, asking for help, maybe it's cleaning your bathroom. It's different for everyone, but it's a sure thing that there is some thing hanging over your head like a personal raincloud. Do it. You'll feel better.
And if none of those work, maybe you just need to turn your brain off.