Let’s play a game of Would You Rather.
Would you rather spend a month doing passive leg workouts with minimal resistance and range of motion because that’s all your hotel room and schedule could afford, or abandon your blog like a lost child in the abyss of a Target store only to find it weeping and begging for your attention, all sad, yanking at your pant leg with metaphorical mascara running down its eyes?
Neither of these! (Spoiler alert: I just played a round of Would You Rather with myself. Separate issue, separate post.)
I get it. These are all major #firstworldproblems, but there is something about losing momentum that is so eerily debilitating. In many cases, stepping away from a mentally exhausting project or creative endeavor can help you breathe new life into something once you revisit it, but in my case, the opposite tends to usually ring true.
I like to think of the types of momentum I experience in my life as mental inertia. Whether it’s torturing myself at the gym six days a week to sneak in a full-body workout (trust me, it feels so good) or vowing to complete a feature in under two days, time off removes me mentally and physically from my work to the point where it feels like a foreign entity to me. Fear of the unknown, or rather the forgotten, sets me back.
Trainers always tell me to take rest days. I don’t refrain from taking them because I’m particularly maniacal about working out (white lie #1), but because the comfort in doing something one day and then again the next at the same time creates structure and flow in a transitory world. The same goes for writing. I looked at this blog thing after a month of not touching it like it had 12 hands and googly eyes. Who are you? Why are you looking at me like that? You’re making me uncomfortable. Stop it, I said to this blog.
But of course, there are exceptions to every rule. My friend called me yesterday, lets call him David to protect the innocent (his real name is also David), to ask me how I developed my strong work ethic. I told him two things. A strong work ethic is really nothing to admire. If you are a human being you will naturally be so passionate about something, at least one thing, that there is really nothing you’d rather spend your time doing.
The second thing I told him is that it’s important to get invested in multiple projects at once so that you don’t feel suffocated by one in particular. Like interval training, sometimes it’s more effective to imbue short bursts of energy into a certain project than to test your endurance, yield lackluster results, and come out drained and hating yourself and the thing that you once loved, on the verge of murdering an innocent bystander for the nearest Gatorade.
David has so many ideas that he often isn’t sure where to start, and I think that if he were to spread his little videojournalism wings (am I giving away too much info? Were we off the record?) he would view each of his projects with a newfound sense of excitement and maybe even first-date butterflies.
That’s all I have to say about momentum for now. Some people are sprinters and some are marathon runners. Where do you fall?