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Lusty Lady

Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Monday, September 22, 2008

Motivation, or not

Lately I’ve just been feeling pretty unmotivated. Exhausted. I have trouble faxing or mailing back contracts (sorry to all who had to wait!) and just doing the most basic of tasks. I sleep in rather than get up early. I take the easiest, laziest route, which, truth be told, is nothing new. I always have, but the last month or so it's been more pronounced.

I am finishing up some anthologies that were due months ago, and I feel lucky I can even muster the energy to finish them (though when I can tell you about them, I think you'll see that they are really HOT and one is so fun, I hope to get to do some unusual promotions with it). I’d rather be brainstorming new ideas, but I can’t until I get them done. The thing is, I never can rely on myself because about half the time, I just quit and walk away, always have. That’s kindof my natural m.o., and is why I mentally dismiss anyone stupid enough to say, “You do so much.” I know they will never understand and don’t even bother protesting.

It’s not that I do nothing, I do. But this year especially I’ve seen that there are consequences. Deals dropped, anthologies I don’t get into. It’s ironic that I forfeited my chance to be in two big-paying anthologies but scramble to write for practically nothing. I’m not sure why I have that self-sabotaging instinct, I just know it’s always easier for me to pick up someone else’s book, get lost in their world. I want to write books, yes, but I don’t know if I have it in me, at least, not now, not with a full-time job and part-time blog and other things I want to do with my life.

I try to force myself to focus on the details, to take delight in the accomplishing of small tasks, even if that just involves sending back a contract. I have much bigger tasks I need to accomplish, but I’ve learned that I have to trick myself into them sometimes, break them down into their tiniest parts or they will never get done. There’s a lot that never got done, and you don’t get a second chance. I’m actually shocked most of the time that anyone still wants to buy anything I write. Most of the time of late I have no idea if it’s worth it, but I also know I have no other skill, no education beyond a pretty worthless college degree. And even if writing doesn’t always, or even all that often, anymore, make me happy, I need it. It helps me, and I hope to find ways to make the writing that helps me converge with the writing that makes me money. Because, well, whatever I’m doing isn’t really working. It’s too much time spent for not enough money, that much is crystal clear. I feel my 33rd birthday looming, and am not all that excited because I feel like this was the year I failed and it’s hard to not see more than that. I need to make the next one one where I succeed, not just financially, but at doing things I can be proud of. I got myself into this mess by agreeing to things I think I was never proud of, and increasingly, that’s how I feel, and it’s uncomfortable.

I was at a party on Friday, though, with mostly media folks, some I knew vaguely, some a little better. I saw this old friend, who I realized I’ve known since the late 90’s. We don’t know each other that well but I’ve always admired her and thought she was both cool and dead smart. She said some things that buoyed me, and made me realize that even if it’s taking me extra extra long to complete some things and I have so much to do in various areas of my life to make them, at the very least, presentable, I’ve come a long way from the utterly misguided law school student I was back when we first met. So that’s something.

And I hatched a new little (or maybe big) project that’s launching next week. It involves erotica. Read more about it and how you can submit your work here. I'm excited about it.

Last week’s visit ended on an up note, but the middle of it was kindof hellish, for both of us, I think. I had pictured it like being on vacation, and it was distinctly not so. That’s good, I think, for each of us and our relationship, because when it’s all vacationlike, it’s too easy; that’s not real life. The downside is, well, real life is annoying and messy and busy and tiring and not always the most romantic thing in the world. Saturday was very bittersweet, because it was out best day (well, maybe our spa day was a close second) and the day we had to say goodbye, but I think any more time might have not been good for us.

It brought into stark relief the fact that I’ve never lived with anyone other than family and roommates, and I know he lived with someone for four and a half years. I don’t have any grand wisdom from that. There was a point where I was sure we were gonna break up on the spot, and then other moments that were so open and honest, the kinds of moments I wish we had more of. There was sex, too, eventually, and I hate to say that fixed everything that had been wrong before, but it kindof did. I think we’re both kindof loners at heart and pretty stubborn and moody; not all the time, but enough of it, that we have to work to get past that to get to the good parts, where we’re not so self-protective. Sometimes I don’t know if either of us is ready for that closeness, and I think when you’re far away, it’s easy to retreat back into your own head. But the optimistic part of me hopes that we can overcome that. I think it was really healthy for me, if not the most fun thing, to realize that I'll be okay if that optimism is unfounded because what I think I fear the most is clinging to something that's not working just because. Because what, well, there are a million reasons, and it's not so black and white. I guess I'm choosing to focus on the happier moments, not because the bad ones didn't exist, and trust me, they were bad, but also because I think that part of them was a product of our surroundings, not us. Part of it was us, and that's okay too. I know it's unrealistic to think every minute together is gonna be blissful.

So, that's me. Plus lots of cupcakes. Plotting all sorts of event goodness and cupcake coolness too.


At September 24, 2008, Blogger PastaQueen said...

Thanks for this post. I've been following you on Twitter and thinking, "Wow, Rachel is so busy!" and wishing my professional life was as active. Knowing that even you have a hard time keeping up with it makes me feel like you are human after all and makes me feel less bad about not being busier :)

As for not finishing things, I am the same way with reading books. There are literally dozens of books I have started and never finished, some of them multiple times. I'll try picking them up again and have to start from the beginning because I've forgotten what happened and then I don't finish again :)

I've been trying to focus more on finding good-paying projects and not wasting time on stuff that doesn't pay. It's hard to do and I admire people who can manage their careers as such and who learn when to say no and when to say yes.

Good luck figuring it all out!


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