Monday, February 20, 2012

The Path to the Finish Line - Motivation Mondays

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not good at using my time wisely.  I'm easily distracted and can be off on a new tangent in the blink of an eye.  Like Google, Twitter should be my friend.  Instead, I'll click on a link that looks interesting and, the next thing I know, I've just spent almost an hour on even more articles that caught my eye.  Guess why I don't have my Tweet Deck turned on and active all day long.

Yes, I'm learning.  The previous week and this weekend were definitely lessons in several things.  But instead of sharing those right now, I'm going to set the stage.

There are two writing related things going on in my life right now.  The first is my writing group's Word Count Challenge for the year.  As a group, we've pledged to write a combined 1,500,000+ words.  In fact, it's nearly a million and three-quarters.  There are fifteen of us involved, and our individual totals range from 20,000 (the minimum) to over 600,000 (from our most prolific member).  Mine is 120,000, and I'm happy (and relieved) to say that the word count of my blog posts can be included.  Whew!  (Watch my progress via the meter at the left.)  Nearly all of us broke our large goal into smaller goals, such as words-per-month, -per-week, and -per-day.  And that's the key.  Sticking to those goals is the other.

The second thing going on in my life is that I'll be writing two more books set in Desperation, OK, for Harlequin American Romance.  I gave myself plenty of time to write the books. I've set my deadlines, the gathering is done, and the uphill climb has begun.  At least I thought so.  And then the first week happened.

The gathering took longer than planned.  My website clients needed updates.  The two youngest grandkids were here for an afternoon.  My car broke down, sucking up most of one whole day and part of another, not to mention grounding me, which causes severe mental anguish.

So with ZERO words written by Saturday morning, I sat at my computer, praying that I could still write---which took complete advantage of my talent of being distracted.  I fought it and managed to write four pages.  Not bad, but not anything to brag about.  I was still four days behind.

Then came Sunday, devoid of any of the usual chores of life, and feeling a little more certain that I could actually string words together that made some sense, I wrote.  At the end of the day, I had fourteen more pages, and the chapter was finished.  I'd reached the first goal, and I felt good!

There are eight more chapters of this book to write, but just reaching that first goal, in spite of external and internal forces that were determined to keep me from it, proves to me that I can do it.  I am Writer, hear me ROAR!  Okay, squeak is more like it, but it's a success, in spite of being a small one.

And now to the LESSONS LEARNED:
  1. If a goal is broken down into smaller goals, do them as planned.  If that isn't possible, don't think of it as failing, because unmet goals can eventually be met, if you simply try.
  2. Allow yourself to feel good when you do reach a goal, however small.  As the Desiderata says, "Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans."
  3. Give yourself the chance to succeed.
For me, both finish lines are many months away.  Success will mean I'll need to keep to my schedule and goals, and possibly even work when I hadn't planned to.  In setting my weekly goals, there's one thing I've done that I haven't always in the past.  I've tried to keep my weekends free.  We all need some time to sit back and breathe deeply, forgetting about what's waiting to be done in the immediate future.  Be sure to give yourself the gift of time whenever you can.

Motivate yourself and delight in the small goals you've worked to reach.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Nina Sipes said...

Hi, Surprise!!,
Read your blog and wished it were true for me. I'm beginning to feel like a salmon swimming upstream and somehow the stream is a lot longer than I remember it. (oops!)just had a thought. Don't those pesky salmon DIE after they've swam upstream and spawned?
Well, if they do, forget the salmon thing. Anyway, today, just to eat one lonely thin sandwich took over 45 minutes with three lengthy interruptions. Knowing what you need to do and getting there are really different things. On the other hand, how bad can a day be that doesn't include the dog on fire?

Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

Hi, Nina!
The planets must be in the wrong alignment. My day has been full of interruptions, too. Things have gotten done, but not the things planned. Maybe tomorrow? Hope yours is better then, too. :)