I can’t be the only person who is suffering from an enormous collapse in motivation as we enter the last week before Christmas. I only wish I could say for certain that the timing was the only cause. Anyway, the consequence remains the same – I’m not feeling that an enormous amount of value is coming out of my head at the moment. And the stuff that does come out of my head isn’t necessarily often being translated to the written word.
I think there’s a danger that we conflate these things – that a site that you’ve used to express your thoughts for a very long time starts to become a burden/pressure and an impediment to thinking. So you don’t write your thoughts down in the same way. Are you still thinking? And if not, are you not thinking because you’re hung up on the immediate expression of those thoughts. Is the act of writing something down a process of ‘capturing’ your ideas, or is it just packaging and selling them off as quickly as possible. What if the social nature of your platform isn’t something you have time to engage with? How long does it take for a one-sided discussion to lose all meaning?
The big push in my life over the last few weeks has been a very different one. I’ve been organising stuff. Mostly I’ve been trying to impose order on my flat – working my way through many many years of paper and bought things and odds and sods of crap that I thought I couldn’t live without. I’ve learned two things – I can live without a hell of a lot of crap and that all imposed order is fleeting. In cleaning my flat I’ve recognised that writing for my site has come to have the same atmosphere to it as sorting through paper and doing the washing up. It feels like an action that is pure maintenance. Day on day, work must be done. But where’s the end result? Where’s the epic project with the huge pay-off or the addictive sense of satisfaction that makes everything else seem worthwhile?
I’ve been pushing for that feeling at work a lot too. Being at the heart of a big project that I really believed in has spoiled me for much of this other stuff. Those sensations of getting somewhere, of contributing and of helping to build something great are quite intoxicating and rewarding. But what to do when your have to move on? How do you get yourself re-engaged in a new project? When your back is to one source of heat, maybe it’s harder than ever to discern other warmth around you. Unless, perhaps, the heat is moving with you?
My feeling is that the process isn’t enough, the thinking isn’t enough, the milking and shifting of thoughts from my head onto screens and across the world isn’t enough. Organising stuff, maintaining stuff, keeping the wheels turning – not good enough. I want more. I need more. But maybe there isn’t more. Because there aren’t ends, there aren’t conclusions. Histories are structured in the act of telling. Breaks and shifts – beginnings and endings – these appear after the fact through interpretation. Am I struggling for a narrative closure and a ‘brand new chapter’ that the world simply cannot afford me? Am I struggling to fit the flows of experience into the same structuring world-views and aspirations to totality that I use professionally every day?
Or maybe I need a few days off and a bit of a change of context. Maybe all I need in the run up to Christmas is a few easy drinks, some food and family in Norfolk and a complete forcible dislocation from the most challenging, frustrating, rewarding and hard-to-get-over year of my life so far. I’m hoping it’s true. Is a phase shift on the horizon? I think that it might be, but it could be a mirage. Roll on 2005? Well I guess we’ll see.