Sometimes, going through the motions feels great. Everything’s going smoothly, you don’t have to think about what you’re going to do or how or when — you just get up and do it, day after day, because you’re an Adult and you have your life (somewhat) all put together.
It’s fine … until it isn’t anymore.
Because after awhile, doing the same thing over and over, trying to Do Something With Your Life but never feeling like anything is happening … just gets old.
The good news is, if you’ve ever felt this way — or you’re deep in it now — you’re totally normal.
Honestly? You feel this way because this is how growth feels.
You’re the one growing. So even though you’re slowly moving toward your end goals, and you’re improving, and every single thing you write is better than the last thing, you don’t really see or feel that. It just seems like you’re checking off the same boxes day after day, never really getting anywhere, almost, sometimes, going on partial autopilot.
The truth is, I don’t think there’s a single creator out there who hasn’t had a moment where they just didn’t want to Do It anymore. But the difference between those who never make it and those who do is all in whether or not they’re willing and able to power through that feeling and continue forward anyway.
This is one reason why diversifying your work — or your hobbies, if you write full time for fun! — is so important. As good as repetition is, boredom and production plateaus are always major possibilities. If all I did every day was write, I’d quit. But I do mostly writing, then some editing and social media, plus reading and streaming (and sometimes gaming) in my down time. I don’t get bored because while I’m doing the same things over and over, they’re all different things — and that’s when I’m at my best.
First, if you feel like you couldn’t possibly stand one more day like the last 350 — endure one more. Because though you don’t see it, things are changing. It was around the time I was ready to quit freelancing that I accidentally got hired to write full-time — funny how that happens. You may not notice your progress, but others do. The day-to-day routines that feel like Groundhog Day to you might be the exact processes and skills someone is looking to hire a writer to do — but on a much larger, more diverse scale.
Second, if you’re bored with your work, make sure you have cushions to fall back on — or to motivate you. Take a class in your community that has nothing to do with writing. Volunteer somewhere. Set a completely “out there” goal and spend your weekends working toward it. You can’t just write all the time. You need to do and write other things that make you happy and give you a reason to get up and grind every single morning.
This phrase is simple, but it’s powerful: keep going. I know driving down the same road without ever making a single turn seems like the worst thing in the world. Think of the big picture, though. The road could start curving, and before you know it, you’re exactly where you’ve always wanted to be — even though it took a lot of hard work and patience to arrive.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.