Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

We all need a little motivation

I always loved the cartoon strip, Calvin and Hobbes (1985-1995), by Bill Watterson.  In college and my twenties, though, as a “new adult” I don’t know that I could appreciate his work as much as I do now.

cartoon by Bill Watterson

While Calvin never did manage to sell a swift kick in the butt, it is something that now, in my forties, I would gladly pay $1.00 for! 

Those of you who have been following my blog have seen me mention feeling a bit unmotivated in certain areas, writing being one of them.  But what happens when that lack of motivation extends beyond just following a dream? I find that I let my exercise slide in an effort to spare some time for writing which I am not doing.  So I am not writing or exercising… I want to quilt more, but don’t want to take time away from writing and exercising, so no quilting either.  I want to read about twenty books at the moment, but can’t seem to focus on one… so no reading…

This funk has filtered into many areas of my life. I haven’t been playing violin or piano, haven’t been eating as healthy as I should, haven’t been doing yoga, haven’t been learning to meditate.  I HAVE been watching the last couple seasons of Archer on Netflix and Strikeback on Cimemax on demand.  Oh, and napping as often as I can manage. 

Maybe that is what I have needed in my life… time to decompress so I will have the energy to pursue my dreams.  Down time is important and sometimes we just need unscheduled time to do absolutely nothing.  The trick is realizing when you have rested long enough and being able to find the motivation to start the forward motion again. 

hmmm… I think I have decompressed enough… 🙂

Do you get in ruts like these?  Times when you feel pulled in so many directions that you just dig in and do absolutely nothing about any of them? 

Oh Calvin, where are you when I need you??


  1. Excellent 🙂

  2. Hi Cheryl, yeah I get those times too. They say, as a writer, you should just continue to write anyway. However, I prefer a more holistic approach, to view really low periods as a need to disengage. It may signal a time when we need to shake things up, do something different, take a trip, see something new, rest, listen to music, see a movie. It may signal that we need to recharge the batteries. Just don’t whatever you do, let any doctor push prescription pills on you. I know my niece went through a low period at the tender age of 18 and her doctor prescribed prozac! I was so happy that she had sense enough not to take them. We can cure ourselves naturally, if we trust our instincts. Take care of yourself.

    • Thanks Yvette! I definitely am recharging and will be starting back into things with baby steps… write ten minutes a day, play a little piano and violin (or in my case, make noise!), exercise and eat healthier, make sure I get enough sleep. The hardest thing for me is not beating myself up with a bunch of “shoulds” while I am taking those baby steps. 🙂

  3. Luckily I’ve been too busy for a downtime in the last year or so…but previously I would have times when I would slump in front of the TV evening after evening…unable to recharge or muster up any sort of energy physically or mentally. Now when my body has had enough it makes me faint and that’s when I know to take time out! Drastic I know but it works.

    • Hey, if fainting kicks you in the butt, it has done its job. 🙂 Just remember to take some time for yourself in the midst of all your busy times. Burn out is an avoidable side effect! 🙂

  4. Yup, I’m in one of those ruts. My problem though is I’m on a time crunch and I can’t afford to give into that rut. So, I continue to get up at 4 to write even though I want to sleep. And it’s 11pm now and I should be in bed, because I’ll be getting up at 4–lack of sleep is part of my problem for lack of energy. Being a mom with two kids who are so OVER summer break is another reason I have no energy.

    I find though that once I get writing, I am a lot happier and feeling my groove. It tends to be that pre-writing time that’s the problem. Kind of like how going to the gym is always worse than when you’re actually at the gym, working out. Once you’re there, you feel good–or at least, better. The same happens with writing. No matter how exhausted and burned out I am, no matter how much I don’t want to write, I write anyway and because it is my passion, my calling, I feel much better.

    But, everyone is different and I hope you’re able to find your way out of your rut soon. 🙂

    • Definitely seeing some sunshine at the end of the tunnel. Allowing my rut to be what it is and not be too hard on myself about it is half the battle. Thanks for the good wishes. 🙂

  5. Oh! I forgot to mention, I loved Calvin and Hobbs when I was in college also. Did you ever see those Beer Googling T-shirts with Calvin and Hobbs? I think it’s beer-googling (when you’ve had too much to drink to the point you think someone very un-hot is really hot) I forget the whole gist of the T-shirt, but I’m pretty sure Calvin is beer-googling someone, and Hobbs is annoyed with his behavior…

    sorry, I just couldn’t resist mentioning that. Such a blast from the past.

    • Editing myself now that I’ve had some sleep (and yes, I did get up at 4 to write) –I should have written ‘beer goggling’. Not googling. We’re wearing beer goggles when our drunk selves think someone is hot when they’re really not. I don’t know why I’m harping on this…! Maybe I need a night out?!

      • My favorite Calvin and Hobbes series is the snowmen – where he makes all these crazy scenarios with snowmen. Very funny stuff. 🙂

  6. Love C&H, first of all, and second – I am in that rut of overwhelm right now! My head is about to explode and I don’t have time for anything. I’m exhausted and feel like I’m not doing anything for myself, even writing is slipping to the back burner and that is my favorite thing to do and what I need to do the most. All of my overwhelm comes from things I have to do right now, though, so I just keep on plugging. Ugh. I have no solutions, but I’m with you! You’re not alone.

    • Thanks Cindy! It always helps to know that what I am feeling is normal. As Nemo says, “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” Sometimes that is the only thing to do! 🙂

  7. Decompression – love it! I hate getting in that mood.

    The cartoon is very much to the point! 🙂

    • Thanks Dianne – I would pay Calvin to kick my butt for a few weeks and just launch me out of the rut.

  8. Do you suppose it’s in the air, Cheryl? Been through a spell like that myself recently. AND your point is excellent: perhaps, if that’s what our bodies are making us not-do, there is a reason. Listen and act accordingly. Downtime is SO essential to good health. That said – I hope your own kick is gentle and nurturing as you re-enter your writing, exercising, yoga, reading, healthy eating . . .

    • Thanks Sarah! Definitely in the air lately – I have many friends, writers and others, who have been feeling like this. The hardest part is remembering to be gentle with ourselves and knowing that rest IS allowed. 🙂

  9. Yes, yes, yes! I DO get in ruts much like the ones you’ve described! I know the feeling of ‘saving time to write,’ by neglecting, well, just about everything….and then not writing! Wonderfully put. I also agree that sometimes you do just need to stop and rest. Having goals such as writing can tremendously overwhelming; some days I want to crack under the pressure, the information overload, etc. Letting it filter away for some time doesn’t hurt…as long as you find your way back of course! Great post.

    • Hi Katherine! You have been so busy this summer that you have the perfect excuse to have let your writing slide a bit! 🙂
      I will find my way back with baby steps- a few minutes a day of writing, one yoga session per week. It is the only way to get there.

  10. Daphne Shadows

    I call them my ‘lull’ periods. Happens every now and again. Nothing has that spark any longer and I consider myself burnt out, or spread too thin, or maybe its just that I need distance from everything that can be categorized as ‘work’.
    Maybe we just need that time for absolute nothingness. Time to do only what we want, and what expends the least amount of energy. 😉
    Maybe we’re just mind ninja-ing ourselves. Pulling ourselves away from what we enjoy, that way when we go back, it seems so much sweeter – because we denied ourselves of it for a while.
    Whatever the reason(s), I know that we should listen to that inner “I knew I should do that”, or we’ll end up being bitter in one way or another.
    Everyone needs a break. Finding motivation was never a problem for me though. *knock on wood*

    • Hi Daphne —
      I found myself taking one of those breaks last week – from writing, from my day job – from everything. I felt totally guilty about it too until about Friday morning, but that is just the way I operate! I did accomplish a great feat though – I managed to nap for at least an hour for ten days straight. Today was the first day back to my office and it was tough! 🙂

    • Daphne Shadows

      Trying not to feel guilty about it is the hard part for me lol. Glad you got some sleep!!!

  11. Daphne Shadows

    Oh – and I also love Calvin and Hobbes. 😉

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