There are just some days I find it really hard to sit down and work on my manuscript. But, I have goals to reach. And somewhere, somehow, I have to find motivation to accomplish those goals. Otherwise I get frustrated and want to give up.
Writing a book is a longggg process. I’ve been working on mine for over seven years. Granted, I have a day job. I have a family. And I have volunteer requirements. And in the beginning I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t know what were realistic measurements or tasks I could expect myself to accomplish.
But I’ve learned a lot in the past seven years, including what works for me to keep moving forward.
Choose to track word counts or time. Sometimes just spending 15 minutes (Flylady anyone?) is enough to move forward and keep my mind in my story. My planner I use has little images in the front of each month. If I touched my MS that day, I color in the image. Didn’t matter how long or what I did. It sure helps take away the feeling of being stagnant.
Back in March when all of sudden my home became work and school central for the four other people in my family, I had to get really specific with the tasks I wanted to accomplish each week. Part of that was to show my family what I was working on, and part of it was for me to stay on task when there was a lot going on around me.
I was editing my MS and wanted to get through four chapters a week. So on an index card, I wrote out each week’s dates and which chapter numbers were assigned that week, and then I stuck it to my little bulletin board, where I could see it.
I’ll tell you, being able to check off each week when I accomplished those chapters was so encouraging. Yes, I will need to go through my MS again. But I’m not focusing that far ahead. I would derail myself if I did. Instead I focused on what I needed to accomplish that day (one scene or two) for that week. This makes it way more manageable.
And for full disclosure, I had to change some of the dates. There were a few weeks where I just couldn’t get it done. The chapters needed more work, and we had family birthdays to celebrate. So I adjusted and kept going.
Are you a morning person or a night person? I’ve learned that editing in the afternoon right now doesn’t work for me. I get too caught up with work and everyone else is up and making noise, having conversations, and it’s challenging to focus uninterrupted. I enjoy the morning when it’s more quiet.
Although with 7 and 7:30am conference call meetings recently, I don’t get to start my day working on my MS, before I jump into work. I try, but realize that it’s not realistic five days a week. Instead, for now, I’ve adjusted my hours and try to work only 1/2 day on Friday and then work on my MS the rest of the day.
This has given me momentum heading into the weekend to still accomplish goals. Sometimes our family dynamics make it hard to work on things all weekend, but by telling my husband I need some time to work on my book, it’s helped set up the expectation.
I find when life is crazy busy, I can’t slow down to focus on just one task. Too many things are screaming at me to get it all done, NOW. In my handy dayplanner each week, are two pages of daily inspiration. Some days I can only think of writing one word in the daily square – my word of the year. This year it’s courage and writing it out reminds me why I chose that word. Courage to keep going when it’s hard, courage to take risks, courage to trust God’s plan for my writing.
Other days I write other things in the daily spots, whether it’s a Bible verse, quote, thoughts, or recently I’ve been focusing on 5 things I’m grateful for each day. It’s amazing how taking a few minutes to slow down and pause helps my mental state and allows me to refocus my brain on the next task I’m preparing for. (And I’ll admit, some days it’s toward the end of the day and I hadn’t written anything down yet. I still pick it up then and recenter myself).
Sometimes I need to just create without thinking. With Washi tape I add color and design to my planner pages. Maybe not everyone is like this, but I find it really helps center me and I get to see something for my efforts.
I’m teaching an online course this month through ACFW on SEO Marketing. I love this topic. And so many people have responded to participate. As I reply to each one and read their comments of what they wanted to learn and their answers, I’ve gotten really excited. I get to share this topic with other writers, help them, and make a difference. With each email, I’m more motivated to keep doing what I’m doing.
There’s something to be said about having little wins in your corner that can help motivate. Interacting, helping and teaching other writers seem to be one of mine.
I could keep going, but I’m off to participate in a virtual writing conference. It seems talking and sharing with other writers is another motivator for me.
I hope one of these ideas helps encourage you to accomplish goals in your writing. When I set out to decide on my topic for this month, this one came to mind. I wanted to capture the positive energy that I’m feeling right now, so in those times when I don’t feel it, I can remind myself of what I can do to help myself through the more challenging times.
If you have other ways to motivate yourself to accomplish goals, I’d love to hear it. Write it in the comments below. We can all use new ideas to help motivate us to accomplish our goals!
If you are interested in more, I wrote a post in January for this blog, that talked about staying on task. And over at my own blog, I post monthly on various topics related to encouragement, writing, and anything Disney
I love choosing a new word to focus on each year. It’s amazing how one word can communicate so much. My word fits exactly where I am both in my personal and professional life and I love to explore the word in depth, as well as find verses and quotes to encourage me throughout the year.
This year will be my fourth time selecting a word as a theme of focus. Usually, I make a list, pray about it, mull it over and see which ones I’m drawn to continuously. But this year? It came up while I was reading the Story of With by Allen Arnold, and as much as I wanted to keep thinking of other words, it stuck to me like glue. Lodged itself inside my heart and left no room for discussing any other option, no matter how hard I tried.
What is the word?
Isn’t that a great word?
Just to be sure, I looked up the definition and did a quick search for bible verses and sure enough it encompasses everything I feel going into 2018.
See, I don’t want to look back. I want to focus on what’s ahead. In both my writing and my faith in God. It may be slow going at times, but it will be steady. What’s that phrase we’ve all heard before?
I’m not going to rush, hurry, stress myself out over the fact I’ve been working on my novel for over four years. It isn’t ready yet and only continuous steady work is what will make it better. I will do what I can and when it’s time, it will be time. That’s the idea, anyway. I have an entire year to keep reminding myself of this.
To help, I always select a few bible verses with my word in it. Last year’s word, strength, had an amazing amount of verses to give me encouragement throughout the year. Steadfast only has five in my NIV adaptation. And two really stood out to me:
Psalm 57:7 – My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make music (and write words—my addition).
Psalm 112:7 – He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Encouraging, aren’t they?
I’m super excited for exploring my word further. Just now, I typed in the phrase slow and steady wins the race and a whole bunch of other quotes popped up. I’ll have to go through them at a later time, but one grabbed my attention and I wanted to share:
I think I might print that one out for my entire family to see.
Oh, this year will be fun exploring #myword2018 #steadfast! You’ll see me post things to my social media related to my word, because I like to encourage others and it will help keep me on task. To be steadfast in my writing. Continuously and sure.
Have you ever considered choosing a word for 2018? I would encourage you to think about it and try it out if you haven’t. And if you have, I would love to hear in the comments what your word is for 2018.
Denise M. Colby
Although new to the writing fiction world, Denise Colby has over 20+ years experience in marketing, creating different forms of content and copy for promotional materials. Taking the lessons learned from creating her own author brand Denise M. Colby, Denise enjoys sharing her combined knowledge with other authors.
If you are interested in a marketing evaluation and would like help in developing a strategy for your author brand you can find out more here http://denisemcolby.com/marketing-for-authors/
Join us and spend the day with the one and only Deb Dixon, author of the classic GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict and publisher of Belle Books. Deb will lead us through her Book In A Day program. This full-day workshop includes GMC and the Hero’s Journey. It’s affectionately called “Book In A Day” because the workshop provides all the tools a writer needs to pull a book together. Whether you’re a new author or a veteran, you can benefit from her insights!
Space is limited, so register today.
September 16, 2017
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
$45 for MCRW Members, $55 for all other RWA Members
Registration Deadline: August 31, 2017
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