Greatest Motivators.
Written by
L. A. Howard
April 2011
Written by
L. A. Howard
April 2011

I have discovered two great motivations to me sitting down and getting the writing done that I need to do:


-- Lack of electricity while at work.

-- Having everything at work well-done and well-organized.


Let me explain:  Today was the second day in about a week wherein I came into work, and discovered that I had zero access to phone OR Internet.  The first time was last Monday, when we had power but no working phone lines.  Today, all power period was out for the majority of the day.


As my drive to work is usually less than 10 minutes long, I asked if I could go home for a few minutes this morning.  I went home, grabbed my Netbook, and brought it to work.  For the majority of the day, I've been sorting through and editing a 170+ document that contains all of the stories I wrote 5 years ago while I was in college and overseas. Times New Roman font, size 12.  The titles of various sections are size 14.  


And that's just the first half of the document.  I am, maybe 1/8 of the way through it, and that's being optimistic.


However, I have hope!  Last week during our down time, I focused on and tackled another beast which had risen up to destroy me:  Unfiled, unsorted documents at work.


It was my own fault.  I have had the tendency, now and then, to fall into a deep depression about my career and lost dream jobs.  When I have gotten into these moods, it's been nearly impossible to motivate myself to do my job even half-way.  To even get up in the morning and go to my job.  So, instead of doing anything productive like working on stories or something, I would get to work...and just not scan or file anything.  I would answer the phone and take messages, but that's all I could literally force myself to do.  (Actually having a real devotional time in the mornings with prayer and a short Bible reading have helped this depression immensely, as well as reading and looking forward to a new book by Jon Acuff called "Quitter".)  


This went on for a while, until I found that I had fallen into a terrible pattern:  I would scan the documents...but then neglect to actually file them.  This meant I was building what felt like walls of paper around me, until the task seemed so overwhelming that I would get even more depressed.


A week ago Monday, when I came and found we had no Internet and no phone...the two things which my job solely relies on aside from filing...I sat at my desk wondering what to do.  I didn't have my Netbook, and indeed, wasn't even in the mood to write.  I didn't have my Kindle, and didn't feel like reading anyways.  I didn't have my PSP, I didn't have my Bible, I literally felt that I had nothing to do.


And then I looked at my papers.  


I realized how sick I was of looking at those damnable papers.  I was sick of feeling sorry for myself, and guilty for having done such a crappy job at work.  For failing to do part of what I was hired to do.


So I got off my rear end, and tackled those papers.  I sorted, alphabetized, paper-clipped, stapled, and filed the Paper Dragon to death.  


It took me nearly all week.  In fact, I -still- have some that need doing, but they are papers that need to go elsewhere and they simply won't fit in the container!  There's too many from last week set and ready to go; there simply isn't room for more.


I consider this last, small pile to be a twitching foot.  The rest of the Paper Dragon has been cut, cooked, and eaten by the starving peasants.  They are saving the foot for last, but keep a very, very close eye on it.


So, with the Paper Dragon 99.9% defeated, and having no power but the light from the sun streaming through my windows and the glass door, feeling motivated and having done my morning devotional, I pulled out my Netbook and have started going through CSWP.


That's what it's called.  "CSWP".  Means "Complete Story With Prelude".  It is, of course, not complete in the definitive sense.  What I meant by that at the time was that it was the Master Document, the one place where I put all the stories concerning those particular characters and that particular world.  Part venting at the world, part fan-fiction, and part original characters and story, I want to sort through it to find the gold held within.  There is good, original stuff in that sordid mess, and it's my personal mission to find it.


As such, that is my new dream.  It isn't perhaps a career dream, but the goodly bit of downtime I have at my current job can help with it, now that I am free from the Paper Dragon.  I can very easily work on the Master Document after I do my regular work, like a student reading a book or doodling on scrap paper after handing in her test.  


Now that I have been reminded that, with God, I -can- accomplish the seemingly impossible, I feel much, much less depressed.


Here's to keeping up with regular work, so that I can keep up with my writing and pursuit of a dream career!


~L. A. Howard~

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