Friday, 23 January 2015

The Benefits of Switching Off

As a writer, it can be hard to stay motivated and inspired. Procrastination becomes your worst enemy, but often your biggest indulgence. Constantly trying to source inspiration, to keep motivated and to keep producing content can be quite overwhelming, and tiring. I often find  I have days where my brain is just complete mush - I can't seem to put pen to paper, or type anything worth reading; I usually end up spending what are supposed to be my productive days, scrolling away on Instagram for hours on end.

Overworking and constantly striving to improve, without seeing many results (or so you think), can leave your mind terribly frazzled. You're left at the end of an unproductive day, feeling down in the dumps about your work, wondering if there's any point to any of it at all. Here's where switching off comes in: it frees both your mind and time, helps you to recharge and regain motivation, to seek inspiration from other sources, etc., so you're ready to start again.

Here's what I do, to help but my mind at ease:

1. Literally switch off...
... your phone, laptop, tablet, whatever. If you're frustrated that you're not getting the fabulous images you imagined, put the camera down too. It helps if you leave everything switched off, in another room (great time to recharge a weary phone battery, might I add), and avoid it all for a while. Social media and constantly being online has a way of messing with our minds, and can leave us with feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. Stop reading those brilliant blogs you love so much, for a while - as amazing and interesting as they are, it's good to take a break every now and then, because continuously seeing wonderful content and sites you long to recreate yourself, can drain your self esteem a little, and make you feel like quite a tiny fish in an overwhelmingly large ocean. Avoid that damn Instagram 'explore' page, or your Twitter feed, Tumblr dashboard, etc. You're not going to get anything done, nor are you going to feel any better. Block. It. OUT.

2. Indulge in some 'me time'
When I'm feeling crappy and uninspired, I like to throw on a fluffy onesie, make a strong cup of tea, and go back to bed. Rest your weary mind, folks - take a minute for a few deep breaths, then grab a book, or some nail polish, and do something you actually love doing, minus the Internet, or work pressures. I find reading can help me get back into working mode, eventually - reading something new and interesting subconsciously helps to develop your own writing skills and style, and can broaden your imagination and perspective. Plus, it's something fun to do whilst in the comfort of your own bed, with an abundance of tea and chocolate. If you've got some quiet time, take a nap, and recharge.

3. Focus on bettering YOU
Hopefully, you're all recharged and happy and calm after your off-time - when you are ready o get back into work mode (and there's no rush, be sure to take your time), there's a couple of things you should remember. If you're a creator, a writer, a blogger, etc., you have to bare in mind that yes, although there are thousands of amazing creatives who you may aspire to be, out there in the big bad world, and online - the only person you should be focusing on is you. Focus on your content, your website, your own work - feel free to take inspiration from others, from time to time, but never, ever copy. Strive for originality and content that you feel confident in, by focusing solely on your own. I read a cute quote on Pinterest a few months ago, and try and focus on it when I'm feeling blue: Don't compare your chapter one, to someone else's chapter twenty. Those wonderful bloggers and vloggers you follow every day have been working on their content for a lot longer, and probably felt just as you do right now, when they were starting out. Don't fret, just keep up the good work!

Basically, don't sweat the small stuff. Switch off every now and again - make a habit of it, even, to keep your mind at ease. Inspiration will strike again, I promise.
Ciara Pollock © . Design by FCD.