Why Being at Home Won’t Motivate You to Write More
You’d think that having all this extra time being alone and inside my own head, words would just flow out like water. But no, that has not been the case
I’m not a full-time Writer. I’m not used to working from home or working from a coffee shop or public space. Instead, I have a nine to five office job. I sit at a desk within an office building in Manhattan. However, given the current global health crisis, my normal workspace has changed drastically, along with many others, causing me to adapt to a different work environment and a different routine.
I’ve been working from home for about a week now— day one being last Thursday. And I have to admit, it hasn’t been an easy adjustment. I’ve come to the realization that working from home isn’t as much of a luxury as I thought it would be. Looking on the bright side, I figured that being at home more would at least motivate me to write more.
That has not been the case.
In the past week that I’ve been home, I envisioned myself becoming a writing machine. I have a variety of topics and ideas scattered across my gmail inbox, saved in the notes app on my phone, and even here on Medium — all of them just waiting for me to build upon. However, those random blurbs of thoughts have stayed exactly where they’ve been.
They haven’t manifested into some great article or even taken on the form of a rough draft. I’ve looked at some of them briefly and then gone about my day. You’d think that having all this extra time being alone and inside my own head, words would just flow out like water.
But no, that has not been the case.
I’ve come to realize that working from home and being by myself hasn’t been some sort of dreamy writing retreat that I anticipated it to be. In fact, it’s not a writing retreat at all. Instead, I feel like I’m in writing jail.
I’ve been writing at the same exact pace and producing the same amount of writing that I was before working from home. And I wonder, why is that? How have I not set aside more time in the day to dedicate to writing? After all, I’m getting more than an hour back in my day from not commuting to work — that hour could be used towards writing.
Well, I’ve come to realize a few other things in the [short] time that I’ve been working from home.
We all have the same exact number of hours in a day regardless of our work situation
I expected working from home to mean that I would get more time back in the day, but it doesn’t. I have the same exact twenty-four hours in a day as I had before.
Time is an illusion and it’s irrelevant towards how much work you put in. Getting a job done in forty hours doesn’t necessarily translate to eight hours a day for five days straight. It can also translate to ten hours a day for four days. Or four hours a day for ten days.
We all make the excuse of “not having enough time”, but the reality is that sometimes you have to make time to do things.
Being around people actually helps with writing
I thought that being by myself would be better for my writing because then, I wouldn’t be so distracted by other people. I figured I wouldn’t be distracted from hanging out with my friends or my family.
On the contrary, I now have less material because I’m having less interactions and less conversations with people. I realized that all of the interactions and conversations that I have on a daily basis actually contribute to my ability to produce more content-worthy ideas.
Even being around people that I’m not interacting with still helps give me things to write about because I’m able to listen in and observe on the interactions and conversations around me.
At the end of the day, you have to make writing happen
I’m aware that people often debate as to whether or not we should “force” ourselves to write. I’ve seen countless articles from other authors challenging the idea that writing should be creative flow rather than a forced task. However, the truth is that it’s a little bit of both.
If writing was solely a creative flow, then how would full-time reporters pump out the number of articles that they do? How would any Writer fulfill writing assignments that their Editors give them within a specific time frame?
Writing is work.
Whether you choose to believe it or not, sometimes writing does come with a little bit of force. If you were to tell me that you wake up every day with words flowing out of you with ease, I’d have to say that I don’t quite believe you.
Writing is hard. It doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes, we need a little spark to get us going. And that’s what I’ve been waiting for in the past week. I’ve been waiting for those sparks of motivation to help me write. And they have come along sporadically. I’ve written a few things since working from home. However, I also have to make time to get the ball rolling if I want to write more.
If you think that being at home more will suddenly prompt you to write dozens of articles, then I have to tell you that’s likely not going to be the case. If you want to write more, you just have to do it. You have to make it happen regardless of your surrounding environment.