Energy. The Flow. Being in The Zone.
All of these are terms we’re familiar with and use regularly. But how often do we really sit down and ponder what it means? When we say “I’m low on energy today,” what are we referring to?
That’s the question I find myself pondering today, as my fingers fly over my keyboard. I’m effortlessly generating content for work. Ideas are spawning like amoebas, dividing, generating, feeding off their own momentum. I’m just sitting, moving my fingers, and work comes out.
Yesterday I was depressed. I spent a number of hours indoors playing video games that I don’t care to share. I forced myself out to a co-working space here in Taipei because I had a project due. I sat among a cacophony of keyboards willing myself to write. The project is quite easy: I’m researching portrait photographers in Tampa for Peerspace. All I need to do is find their personal websites and social media and provide writeups with an insider’s perspective on their photography style and bios.
I sat there for hours and nothing would come. I’d drift…Check social media, drift around Reddit, come back…Stare at my screen, force myself to write…Something…And came out with maybe 3 bios that are rather garbage.
Today I woke up, took stock of my internal juice, as I do every morning, and realized that somehow my tank topped itself off during the night. My reservoir is rather small, however. And unfortunately seems to waver with its own system of vagaries and inputs I barely understand. Today I want to go shooting, write up two pages of bios, finish a piece on camera gear, organize my portfolio and computer albums, do some research for a client, go for a run, meditate, and edit some portrait work I did with a local model last weekend.
I absolutely don’t have time for all for that. Organizing my portfolio alone would take a week! But I feel like I *want* to try. What’s going on there?
I was intrigued to find this Medium post in my feed this morning. I’ve read it before but it was timely nonetheless. It set the tone for my day: what unseen barriers are at play when I feel like depressed garbage and knowingly distract myself with play and check out of life? I maintain that question in mindful presence, rather than force myself to work. Or rather, I force myself to work while remaining curious and mindful about it all, as much as that’s possible.
I don’t really have any answers here; this post is pure musing. One major reason I went back to digital nomading is because it gives me the freedom to work with my energy, which is incredibly important to me at this stage in my life. Working 40 hours means you work when your contract says you have to work. Being a freelance writer means I have deadlines but I can slow down when I’m out of steam, which is often these days. I can walk, eat, read, and find out where and why my muse hides.
And hopefully in the search, learn how to inspire my muse to stick around. This is one of the topics my friend Gavin and I love to chew on. Gavin’s another writer based in Taipei and we often compare (written) notes on where, when, and why our muses flee and how to coax them back into the open. It’s no doubt a subjective pursuit – but I’m convinced there’s a way to cultivate conditions and mental states that foster creativity, connection, and energy. That’s where my focus is right now.