So I figured I’d write a blog post on motivation since I need to self-motivate right about now. It’s not that I’m completely lacking in it–I just lack some much needed focus. My agent asked me to edit a short-story and I was able to do it in short order, so I know I have the juice. I just need to funnel it in the right direction and stop procrastinating.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “To reach a port, we must sail—Sail, not tie at anchor—Sail, not drift.”
I take this to mean that we need to have some idea of how to get to that port, i.e., the goal. The goal doesn’t need to be large or the all-encompassing objective (gasp, a whole 100,000 word novel) that strikes fear into the hearts of the most valiant. I think it needs to be small and manageable. It’s a process … little goals lead to big goals. So to continue with the sailing metaphor, we need a boat (laptop), a sail (brain), the ocean (desk), some sustenance (music/food), and away we go toward our first port of call (word count). The final port will be of course the completed draft of the manuscript but like I said, baby steps.
In terms of my own writing, I’m 150 pages into a new novel, which has sort of stalled. Not because I’m not interested, but because of a whole lot of external distractions. And well, you know how distractions work … if it’s not a shopping trip, then it’s food, or some train-wreck talk show on television, or even a nap. And they can become habitual distractions, which are the WORST. Because habits are hard to break. Anyway, not to get too off topic, I need to set little goals, like a writing total for the day and aim to meet it.
A quote from Yogi Berra here seems appropriate. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Like napville, which as much as we love, we don’t want. We want to write, and to write something good. So for now, I’ll keep this focused on the goal front–5000 words is a manageable number , but you can halve that if you need to (2500 words sounds like a lot but that’s like ONE chapter). Or go even less if you like, say 1000. That’s a nice round bite-sized number and it’s only four pages! Remember, baby steps. Try to move your story arc along, and see where you can go from there. I’m definitely a pantser writer, and I tend to go where the characters take me. I do have a general idea of the overarching story, but my writing is very character-driven. So I’m not entirely sure where I’m going but I do have the tools to move me (and my story) along.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Theodore Roosevelt
This last quote says it all. Just do it. Sit down and get cracking. You’re the only person getting in your own way right now, so stop making excuses and procrastinating, and hop to it. (Jeez, my inner voice is scary). Get your laptop out or your pencil and paper out if you’re old school, put your earbuds in, crank that music up, and just start writing. One word, then two and pretty soon, you may have a whole page, and then a whole chapter, then three. You get the picture. So stop reading this blog post and get to writing!
One last quote to get you juiced up …
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ Lou Holtz
And if you’re not a writer, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find something you love and go do it …
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman
FIND WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE. I couldn’t say it any better than this.