Monday, January 9, 2012

Motivational Monday

Whether you are a writer who works in her jammies at home, someone with a respectable brick-and-mortar job out in the so-called real world or anything between, finding the motivation to grab the edge of the bed linens and hurl yourself to the floor is sometimes hard to find. This is especially true during winter. On Motivational Mondays, I'll share some of the things I'm learning about sluggish motivation. Or I'll beat it soundly with a stick and go back to bed. 

Either way.

There are gadgets and widgets and thingamabobs galore that practically guarantee to boost focus, increase energy and keep us off Facebook during normal work hours. 

Most of them don’t work.

Our mortal minds are clever, and Miss Miserable Mindset is ugly. Her proper name is Daphne Dammitall, the anti-muse. 
Great. It's you, again...
Daphne is the empty container of milk when there’s a new pack of cookies in the cupboard. The coffee can with slightly less than enough grounds to make one cup. The blank page with nothing but a flashing cursor mocking us in a steady, maddening rhythm. 


If Daphne is on the prowl, she always seems to trudge through even the most caffeinated of drinks, energetic music and morale boosts from our friends. She also finds a work-around for anything that dares keep us off Facebook and Twitter. 

**What's that? Did my phone just *ding* again? It must be a message. It might be important. Maybe it's (insert name of famous agent) telling me she loves my work! Ok, I'll just go check. Just for a second.**

Two hours later, the cursor is still flashing. Oh, well. Teh LOLcats were so cute, they almost made me forget about my miserable existence.


What can we do to coax Daphne into a better mood so that we can be productive? Sorry, there’s no magic answer. 

Pretend you didn't already know that, while I go pour another cup of coffee. No, I am not checking Tweets!

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. Motivation is different for everyone. I read inspirational quotes about people getting up and taking a walk. Thanks, but walking in 12 degree weather only serves to make me want to dive headlong under the covers and wait it out until spring.

Text me when it's spring

Some folks, myself included, swear by music. Most of us also need some sunshine, which is hard to come by this time of year. 

My pharmacist, who gingerly hands over my Zoloft each month, told me about a nifty gadget called a light box. Light boxes are used by many folks who suffer from SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the research on them looks pretty darned encouraging. The idea is to expose yourself (not that way!) to a little artificial sunlight each day, and hopefully push SAD under the floorboards for a while.

The reduction in sunlight during winter can wreak havoc on even the best intentions. If you experience a lifted mood and a burst of energy when the sun breaks through the clouds, you might have a touch of SAD. A light box might help. This is the part where I say that you should always talk to your doctor about anything that involves your physical or mental health. Another reason to talk to your doctor is that with a recommendation, some medical insurances cover light boxes. Imagine that!

Light boxes aren’t the same as old-fashioned sun lamps; far from it. In fact, they filter out most of the UV rays. You should only use a light box the way the manufacturer or your doctor describes. They are generally directed at the face, but don’t look straight into one, fer Pete’s sake. After all, you may want the ability to see the pages of brilliance that you might feel like writing later on. 

According to most of the information I have found, and the pep-talk from my pharmacist, light boxes are used anywhere from five to thirty minutes each morning. 

You can read more about SAD and light box therapy at The Mayo Clinic website. 
With that, dear reader, I am off to drag Daphne down and lock her in the cellar. What do you do to combat the anti-muse? I’d really like to know. She’s getting on my nerves, and we’ve a long way to go ‘till spring.

Daphne Dammitall is created exclusively for Irrational Propensity by Daniel Cox, artist extraordinaire. View more of his work at Deviantart


All text and Daphne Dammitall images are copyright © Irrational Propensity 2012


  1. Excellent advice. It occurred to me while reading this that yet another reason my new job is so much healthier is I face a three story window. It's my very own light box!

  2. That's perfect! I have two windows in my bedroom, err, office. Unfortunately, it's gloomy as all get-out today. No light for me. :-(

  3. Even when the sun is shining, it still feels gloomy to me between November and mid-May. Ugh. This is great advice - thank you!

  4. You're welcome! I can't wait to get a light box.

  5. I found Myself daydreaming about Daphne. How delightful it would be to have her chained to the desk. Coffee cup just out of arms reach. Uncomfortable chair. Facebook blocked from the company computer. Mind numbing data entry work until she was begging for Me to let her do something creative. I'll show...hang on, phone just dinged. I got a tweet!

  6. Nary a ray of light, be it sun or moon, enters this room. I'm so glad I don't get SAD. I'd be even more useless than I am. ;)

    Hope the light-box helps! :)


  7. I actually thought of you while writing this. I just knew you were one of those who writes in a veritable cave. :-)