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
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
To reflect on our goals and all that we’ve accomplished, so loved ones will hear!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Many times when we are working by ourselves, at our desk, with our words, we find ourselves deep in the minutie and seeing only all the things we have still left to do.
We may not have met any of our aggresive goals each month, or even each week, as life intrudes on a daily basis for us all.
For me, I’m rounding into my eighth year and still haven’t published my book. (I started this journey in 2012). If I focused only on that one thing, I would be frustrated, disappointed, and inclined to throw my hands up and say that I’m done.
But if I count
I’ve actually done a lot.
Not to mention the weekly critique meetings with my two lovely critique partners, where I’ve gotten some fantastic feedback on my manuscript, and the helpful feedback I’ve been able to provide in return.
Then there’s the pitches I’ve submitted for teaching at more conferences for next year and the deadline dates for contests I hope to be ready for.
All of that tells me I’m making progress.
And I wouldn’t be able to track my progress, if I didn’t take the time to write out these things I’ve accomplished throughout the year.
So, I encourage you to take a step back and think about what you have accomplished in 2019.
There’s a lot of things we do to put words on a page and turn them into a great story. Don’t discount any of it. Whether it just fills our soul to inspire, or gives us tools we can apply to our writing, it all helps us continue on our writing journeys.
Have a very Merry Christmas! I’m thankful for you all.
Since it’s early July, I’ve been thinking about and talking about and podcasting about hitting the Restart button. How have we been getting on with the writing goals we decided upon six months ago?
I know that I am way off from what I expected. Moving to another country will do that to you! So I’ve been thinking about how I want to adjust the year to finish with strong, achievable goals. I did a live broadcast presentation for the Yosemite Romance Writers in May, and decided to use the recording for a mid-year podcast. Here’s the link to the audio, and here’s the embedded video.
Right after I posted that episode, it occurred to me that it might be a good time for a personal goal review as well. When I started thinking about that for myself, I realized I had some changes to make in my life if I wanted to accomplish my new/biggest goal for the year – recovering from burnout.
Here is the link to the audio. And here is the video with my self-discovery. 😉
I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people about the episodes where I’ve talked about my firsthand experience with burnout. (Here’s the embarrassingly honest look at my journey in audio and in video.) Now that I see how much it affects other people as well, I’m going to bring on more guests to talk about how to recover and how to avoid it. I hope my willingness to talk about both burnout and restarting helps others – you included! 😀
I’m super excited about 2017. It’s going to be a great year!
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon . The free short story Superhero in Disguise and the new short story Welcome to Loon Lake are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.
Everyone has a few personal tips and tricks to help them write more, and most people are willing to try something new to see if it helps. I’ve found a good number of people respond well to a healthy fun competition, but sometimes I start feeling bad if I compare myself to someone who always seems “ahead of me.”
Therefore, just in case it’s helpful to you, I wanted to let you know about a quick and easy writing competition you can have with yourself. (Compete with your friends if it doesn’t make anyone feel bad!)
Over ten years ago, I found this “Don’t Break the Chain Calendar” on the Writers Store website. In the description, it says that Jerry Seinfeld once said that he would write a big “X” on every day that he wrote new material…and so this calendar was eventually born.
It has 365 numbered squares on it so you can start any day of the year on square 1. The idea is to get the longest chain of X’s you can. I actually like to use gold stars that teachers put on school children’s homework. 😉 It’s fun to see the line of stars growing. Miss a day or three? Just go to the next appropriate square and start again. If you play the Settlers of Catan board game, it’s like getting the prize for building the longest road. Haha!
One of the nicest things about the Don’t Break the Chain Calendar is that Writers Store offers it as a free PDF download! (Check out the rest of the site – cool stuff!) You can also use a regular printed calendar, but you won’t be able to see as clearly how long your chain grows over time.
Cheap, easy, and motivational – just the kind of “write more” writer’s trick you needed, right? 🙂
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon. The free short story “Superhero in Disguise” and the new short story “Welcome to Loon Lake” are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.
Pindlebryth, and Lenland's untried sorceress Darothien, struggle against betrayal, international intrigue, and an unseen puppet-master, as they race to follow a bewildering trail of ancient clues to locate the most powerful of the Artifacts.
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