Lethargy; creativity’s killer

With the best intentions in the world, the article didn’t get written. It didn’t even get started. Thanks to lethargy, no one will ever know about the discussions and insight that were shared that November night.

However the evening starts with dessert.

And the dessert was good!

Carrot cake this time, tasty and moist. A perfect accompaniment to my dark coffee.

In fact the desserts are always good on Monday evenings. These evenings are our Alpha nights at church and we’ve got some great bakers and chefs insuring we don’t lose any weight while sharing the gospel.

After the cakes had been demolished and we had heard a short talk, we split off into our groups and began discussing if/how people have drawn encouragement or hope from the Bible.

Needless to say some great conversations and content arose that I just wanted to get down on this blog. Start off the new blog content with a good inspirational message.

After Alpha I was still fired up and raring to get all theological on my keyboard, but then the inevitable happens.

The dark drive home…

The classic sing-along tunes on the radio…

The routine brew once you’re back home…

The ‘quick-mail check’ that turns into a Facebook and a Skype session too…

Then the realisation that the passion and call to action had been extinguished by distraction and lethargy. Not only had it been extinguished, but I let it. It’s not something I’ve only just caught myself doing recently either, it’s a stumbling block I’ve noticed dozens of times tripping me up.

Whether its writing a blog article, a page of code, or even the household chores… the inactivity to do something really puts a downer on your day. You look back knowing full well that writing that blog article would have been more productive than catching up with the TV you’ve got recorded.

Lethargy is defined as a feeling of “sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy”. It’s one of those states of mind that we don’t normally live in, but flip into against our own will it seems.

Apathy stole the best of me

I know a lot of creative people; ranging from writers to singers, photographers to designers, do they suffer from this apathetic reasoning? Do they slip into this state of sluggishness knowing full well that the creative works they’re putting off would bring them a new pay-check or perhaps development and recognition of their abilities. I believe they do.

Lethargy becomes a battle between two parts of the same brain, toying with both employing the brain to function creatively or to rest itself from mental fatigue.

I’ve found a key to beating this self-destroying state of mind is to just start the process with a tiny, easy step. A step that offers no possibility of failure. The fact you’re brain is already arguing with itself means that you’re likely to fail if you tackle the activity head on. Start with the very simple first step.

For me, it was creating a blog article title at 1am and hitting the save button.

That was the start of this article. It wasn’t originally going to be written, yet by not writing up the Alpha discussion I noticed this pattern of apathy and lethargy that I fall into on a regular basis.

Less rolling, more of a shudderLooking back you could hardly say that penning the title got the ball rolling, it was only 3 words at the time, so more of a shudder than a roll.

This is the way I’m going to attempt to write more articles and generally be more productive. I’m hoping to become a better theologian and photographer too, both of which I’ll apply this attempt at tackling the task with one tiny achievement at a time.

I guess you’ll be able to see in the middle of 2013 if that has helped or not, by looking at the types, quantity and quality of the posts I’ve been publishing.

However I would love to hear what you guys do when feeling lethargic and know you’re simply wanting to postpone the tasks at hand.

How do you guys deal with convincing yourself to not take the easy route?



1 Comment for “Lethargy; creativity’s killer”


I am so with you on the lethargy…. I would say at the moment I’m not doing much to tackle it, more trying hard to pretend I haven’t noticed… usually at about 4pm I’ll get annoyed with myself that I haven’t done anything and get into a whirlwind of activity, but that’s usually practical stuff as creativity flows best for me wither first thing in the morning or late at night. So the creativity just gets shelved.
Step one though – be aware of it!
Step two – don’t let being annoyed with it turn into being annoyed with yourself or making it your identity. (such as saying ‘I’m rubbish, I never do it’ etc.)
Step 3 – cut yourself some slack – you can’t be creative all the time.
Step 4 – like you say, just make a start!
Step 5 – I’ve found that trying to at least write down headings/main points can be a help. When you get in and Facebook and a cuppa is calling and you know that you’re just gonna lose all that momentum you had while driving home – just sit quickly and joy down something, be it subheadings or a little outline of the article. For me it means I’m more likely to actually write the article at some point, because I have something to remind me of what I was thinking about. And it also does sometimes happen that in writing down the main points I get excited by what I was wanting to write and manage to beat distraction and write it anyway!

Overall – just keep writing and posting, no matter how often, no matter how many you ‘failed’ to write or when the last thing you posted was. Don’t let lethargy become a barrier.

Thanks for the post :o)

Share your voice or simply say hi!