I always struggle with motivation this time of year. I know it doesn’t make sense – most people are filled with joy at the oncoming spring, but the combination of a phobia of sunburn and severe hayfever means that as the sun comes out and the plants start flowering, I start hiding.
The sunburn phobia isn’t as bad as it once was. There was a time when I couldn’t even leave the house for five minutes without using factor 50 on every inch of exposed skin – now I’m generally all right to do stuff like taking the rubbish out and nipping to the corner shop without panicking while it’s still spring, and the sun isn’t as fierce (although come summer that slowly reduces). It’s annoying, because I know it’s ridiculous – I know that a) I’m not going to burn as quickly or as badly as I fear and that b) getting sunburned will not be the worst thing ever and lead to immediate skin cancer, but it still squicks me out hugely and often makes warm days uncomfortable (as no one likes being covered in sticky sun cream).
Even the hayfever is better now that I live in the north of England, as compared to the nightmare it was in the south east. Last year was hell, admittedly, and it left me pretty much housebound at points. It sounds ridiculous, but not only was this direct advice from my GP, but I’d have hours where I’d either have to go around with tissue stuffed up my nose to block the flow, or be constantly blowing my nose with breaks of less than a few minutes. Neither of these options made leaving the house (which would only exacerbate the symptoms) much of an option. I get prescribed hardcore antihistamines and they sometimes keep it manageable, if not comfortable, and leave me drowsy.
For these reasons, or other reasons altogether, my depression also tends to flare this time of year.
The question is, then, how to keep pushing myself and keeping my writing habits up without setting myself goals that feel unmanageable or risk putting me off because they require dedication that I can’t maintain?
Today as an example, I had intended and planned to go out to the usual coffee shop, get a drink, do some writing. Only it’s got later and later, and it’s too warm, and the idea of putting suncream all over my arms and face is very unappealing. My hayfever is intermittent, getting through a fair few tissues but not a constant stream. I have a headache and pain in my jaw, throat and ear because I lost my earrings and had to put new ones in after a while without wearing them and therefore have a minor infection. I’m worried that my levels of tiredness would make going out pointless anyway, as low concentration would make writing hard. I think, maybe I should just write here. Maybe, but I usually write at home by putting on very specific writing music in order to put myself into the right space, and wearing headphones right now would be unpleasant.
Maybe, maybe. Maybe I’m making excuses. I’m sure I can – and will – do a few hundred words at least.
For now, I think I’ll drop my targets a little – 5k in 10 days, as opposed to 10. We’ll see if I can manage a month of meeting that. I should probably put more of my stats up on the Project 10k page – they aren’t quite as impressive, but I’m still moving forwards.
And no matter what, I should remind myself that I’ve written 129k words since the start of November. That’s not to be sniffed at.