Thursday, December 1, 2011

Out Of Habit

I'm extremely rusty on this whole working thing. After about 6 weeks of intense morning sickness, it's like I've completely forgotten how to be a productive human being. But I was feeling better earlier this week, so I started the edits I need to finish for my agent.

And then Ninja Girl and I got food poisoning. That was fun.

I don't know, I have a feeling it was like some kind of subliminal message my body was trying to send. "Don't work. Working sucks. Just keep being lazy and take many more naps. Forget the writing and housework and cooking. Sleeeeeeep."

It's so easy to continue being lazy. At least for me. This is why I try to continue working on something at all times. Sometimes people call me crazy or too driven or, heaven forbid, dedicated. But the truth is that I know the second I stop it's all downhill. Three months will go by and I'll have nothing to show for it.

I'm really not dedicated at all—quite the opposite. Now that I've taken such a long break, I guarantee you it'll take me a good 3-6 months to get back some momentum in the work department. If not more. Because I'm going to have to battle against the full force of my extreme laziness. I'll have to start with baby step goals, slowly building up my tolerance for lots of work. I feel like I'm back at the beginning of...something.

So I guess what I'm saying is that good habits are priceless, they don't take long to lose, and I hate that I lost mine. They sure take a long time to redevelop, that's for sure. It's the same with writing and cleaning and exercising and eating well, etc.

At least I know from past experience that it's worth it to get back in the habit. I always feel better when I have accomplished things, when I'm full of energy and life. Sadly, I've been weakened in just about every way in the last six weeks, but I'm looking forward to reclaiming some amount of strength and productivity. Heck, maybe I'll even find more things to blog about, now that I'm starting to be more coherent and stuff. Just what you hoped for, right?


  1. You're not lazy! You're exhausted. Growing a human being inside one's body does tend to zap energy to to all but the absolutely necessary.

    I mean, I agree about the importance of having good work habits, but if ever there was a time to cut yourself a little slack, it would be pregnancy.

  2. Ren, I know. And I have cut myself some slack! I haven't been doing anything. I guess what I'm saying is that I hate that it'll take me forever to get back on track. I wish I could just jump back in!

  3. Ditto what Renee said.

    But also, I totally get what you mean. I think of it as momentum even more than habit. Forces in motion tend to stay in motion, so even if you know/developed good habits, once you stop exercising them, it's hard to start again. That's why I too don't like to stop working for long -- much easier to keep going if you're already in a rhythm.

    (But sometimes breaks are important too, even if you're not growing a human inside you! All this stuff is such a hard balance to strike.)

  4. I have no clue about babies (having never had one myself), but I do know that the fact that you're still blogging means that you haven't fallen completely off the wagon because of said baby.

    You should write tiny stories (like the ones in The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories which I haven't read but really want) to help you get back on track. Little one or two liners (longer if need be lol) so that you're still being productive but on a smaller scale. That might make it easier to get back to work if you're doing it slowly. Maybe.

    Regardless, never forget that you're awesome. Because you are. Even if you are taking a break and/or being lazy. :)

  5. I'm not sure pregnant women ever get to call themselves lazy. You're doing a lot of work over there! :)

    I was glad to read this post though. This morning I woke up and wrote before work for the first time in MONTHS... a habit that I broke and have had such a hard time getting back into. Ditto going to the gym regularly. And it's frustrating because, like you said, I KNOW I feel better when I do it, it's just hard to get that momentum going. I just try to call it a break, let myself replenish, and move on. Sometimes I have to remind myself that being productive is not the be-all-end-all of my life, even though it feels that way!

  6. I'm feeling you. That force of habit that can be mistaken for "drive" - when really it's just the anti-natural-sloth thing. When I go off sugar, people think I'm so amazing, that I'm so strong. But it's exactly the opposite. I'm the weak and the weakest, and if I give myself any slack (to eat sugar or to sleep away the afternoon or whatever) then I dive into the Vice of Choice.

    So, yes. I hear you. (Also, I love to visit your blog and I'm teaching at Storymakers too. We should be friends. Ready? Go.)

  7. I hate that feeling of being unproductive! It's definitely hard to get back into things, but at least you have an excuse! :) It's easy to get down on yourself when you get in a rut, but really, nothing good ever comes of it, at least for me. Whenever I do that I end up taking MORE time to get back into my routines. So annoying! But I think baby steps are key (heh-BABY steps).

  8. I hear you Natalie. I am also pregnant and struggling with writing momentum. I have to take it day by day. I've made a pact with myself to open my manuscript every day, and I've kept it. Sometimes that's all I do. Sometimes I do a few line edits. Sometime I write a paragraph. Sometimes I write my full word count goal. But as long as I open it each day I don't beat myself up. We're growing a human in our abdomens. That in itself, is work. Give yourself a break. :)

  9. Having suffered through a bout of food poisoning once, I feel for you. It was probably the most miserable 24 hours of my life that did not involve the death of a close family member. Glad you're feeling better, I'm sure you'll get your good habits back soon.

  10. I understand! I hate even taking weekends off because that makes Mondays horrible. A single day off? Disaster! And yet if I don't take a bit of time off now and then, I burn out.

    As another pregnant lady, I fully intend to keep on working on my writing up until I give birth. I already know I'll lose at least 6-12 weeks to no sleep afterwards. And it means I worry less about baby-related stuff, so that helps there. And it keeps my brain exercised-- growing a baby may be work but it doesn't exercise the bits I most rely on and I don't want them to atrophy anymore than pregnancy hormones require!

  11. You've got a lot to deal with right now, so it's natural to want a break. And you definitely deserve to take some time off.
    I know what you mean about habits, though. Even though I'm a workaholic, I'm also really bad about procrastinating. Like you said, the hardest part is getting started. It used to be difficult for me to even want to go to the gym. But once I started going at the same times on the same days each week, it just became automatic. I'm trying to apply that same habit to the other stuff that I'm working on.

  12. Just do what you can when the little one isn't doing internal somersaults against the womb out of sheer boredom!