Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking Flight - Motivation Mondays

For a while, even being motivated wasn't doing the trick and keeping me on the writing schedule I'd created for myself.  There were too many interruptions, too many other responsibilities and obligations that took precedence.  The first week, writing took a backseat until the weekend, but the goal of writing a chapter was met.  The second week, last week, promised to be somewhat the same, but words managed to find their way to paper early in the week, and then three days at the end.  I'm not ahead, but I am on schedule.

According to my calculations---and I am not a numbers person---I've just passed the 20% mark on the current book.  Yes, I admit that a contract can be a prime motivator, but long before I sold my first book, I wrote mega times more than I do now.  Reasons for that are varied and not always related to writing, just as goals aren't either.

So why do I keep track of how much I'm writing and how close I am to my goal?  I've taught myself to use it for several things.

  1. I'm visual, so I keep a log.  With something to see my progress--or non-progress--I don't have to guess how far I've come and how far I have to go.  I'm also great at reading maps, if that's any indication.
  2. I know that the first half of the writing project is always the hardest.  Definitely an uphill climb.  But once that halfway point is reach, it all seems to get easier.  That could be because after several chapters, we know our characters and our story better.  By the time I'm down to the last quarter, the story takes off and almost writes itself.  There's motivation in getting to that point and, once there, knowing THE END is near.
  3. When I get discouraged that I'm not gaining as quickly as I think I should, I can look back at my logs from other projects to remind myself that it's always hardest in the beginning.  I have proof that I've been through it before and have always made it to the finish line.
  4. Let's face it, I'm anal.  I keep copious records and probably waste more time keeping them current than I need to.  But because I rely on them to prove to myself that I am making forward motion with my writing, I'm not planning to give any of them up for quite a while.
Each person's life is different.  Some people are only able to carve out a small amount of time to work on their goals.  Others have the freedom of fewer responsibilities and aren't pinched for time.  I'd rather do slow and steady, but because other things have come along to take up my writing time during the week, I've been sprinting on the weekends or whenever I can.  

Learning not to give up when I don't make my goal hasn't been easy.  And there are still times when I start to get down because I didn't make my pages for the day and am behind schedule.  But I quickly remind myself that when I allow that to happen, I'm only making it harder to reach those goals in the future.

Is motivation only for writers?  Not hardly!  Anyone can use it, even for everyday things, even the simple ones like getting out of bed.  (Yeah, some days that's a tough one.)  So what goal will you set and how will you motivate yourself to reach it?
All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them.                    ~ Walt Disney

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