Challenge Journal #1- On Rituals and Fears

I have this fear that has been creeping up on me for a while now. It started this summer. I was an intern at Concordia Publishing House in the marketing department. I had such a great experience, I met new people, explored the city of St. Louis, and ate a lot of good food. Not every day was a great day, but I was able to merge a lot of my interests and my internship became a dream job for me. I was writing content, making video content, and learning from my excellent supervisors.

My Cohort of Interns at the House!

You may be asking yourself at this point, well what is her fear? What is the issue. While the fear may have originated at CPH, it did not start to take affect until I started my senior year here at Michigan.

Motivation. Burnout. Coming off of such a good experience at a place I could see myself working in the future (one rejection and a second application entered later I still say that), I have been struggling to want to be a scholar like so many of my classes require. The work is just a means to an end at this point. I am fearing burnout.

I am writing a lot for most of my courses. Since I get to choose my courses, of course this is my own fault but I think that most University courses are writing intensive (at least, that’s what I’ve experienced.) Of course, not only am I writing for class but I also am contractually obliged to write one post per month for CPH’s Vacation Bible School. As a freelance blog writer, I am finding it so so difficult to stay motivated and to generate new ideas.

I am feeling burnt-out. I know this, I am so stressed and tapped into that I do not know what to do. I just fear the day that my motivation plummets so low that I cannot bring myself to care about late-assignments, passed blog deadlines, or showing up to my extracurriculars.

How does a writing ritual fit into this? I need to be able to get into headspace where I can work on my writing while not feeling overwhelmed. I need to re-center myself before diving into work. I hope to get into a head space where my creativity can just flow instead of being interrupted by the slightest and smallest discomfort. Because a rituals can help to center yourself on why you are doing the work, it will be beneficial to my work.

As a Christian, something that I find myself writing about a lot (so get ready), all of my actions are worship. To make this clearer and give proper gratitude and praise, a ritual will help me to know where my hope is placed before I start to worry about my writing not being good enough.

To start the ritual, I will plug my laptop into a charger. I normally type my words on my laptop. This seems small, but if I don’t do it at the beginning I will make that an excuse to quit writing later. From there I will grab the maize and blue knitted blanket that my Michigan alumni grandmother handmade. I will take one of my special mugs and make vanilla honey camomile tea with a splash of milk and a sprinkle of sugar. Once everything has been arranged, laptop in front of me, blanket on my body, tea to my side, I will say a quick thank you to the Man upstairs. My ritual will be completed.

I don’t know whether the ritual will help. I want it to, very very much so. But I’m so tired.

Anyone else having similar feelings about the semester?

2 thoughts to “Challenge Journal #1- On Rituals and Fears”

  1. YES. This probably won’t be surprising to you that we’re on the same page here because we’ve talked about this a lot, but I think the part about being derailed by the smallest distraction is what spoke to me the most. I know that for myself if I manage to get past the worry and the burnout and all of that there’s still for some reason the fact that I can’t seem to make myself want to focus for long enough to do my work. It can be frustrating – it seems like the kind of thing thats out of our control. But I think that your writing ritual sounds very relaxing, like maybe it could get you into that zone. And starting off with a thank you to “the Man upstairs” always helps 😉

  2. Adele, I totally feel you!! Uncertainty is something that has always scared me and with graduation right around the corner, I am so scared and agitated about my life after graduation. And this uncertainty always seem to trickle into my writing processes, and having the writer’s block where I JUST do not know what to write about, and so start pushing off my writing, losing all motivation and inspiration. However, I do think that your ritual and seeking blessings from God shall provide internal peace and intrinsically motivate you to get some ideas and thoughts flowing. Personally, I like to step away from thinking about writing and work out that helps me refocus and recenter myself to come back to my desk to begin writing. I have also realized that distancing myself from the prompts, or the idea about writing help me return to it with a more fresh set of eyes and begin the process from scratch. I look forward to knowing more about your ritual and any others that you develop over the semester!

Leave a Reply