How to Stay Motivated
Here we are, nearing the end of 2020, the craziest year I’ve ever seen in my lifetime and the most challenging when it comes to being a writer/artist. I currently have COVID combined with a rough case of bronchitis, so all my efforts have been to focus on breathing in and out…and not stop breathing in and out. Trust me, if you haven’t experienced bronchitis, try it with a disease that wan’t you to stop breathing altogether. Actually don’t…I don’t want you to get hurt.Want to hear something strange? I’m feeling GOOD. Sure, I’m physically ill and that hampers some progress, but its allowed me some lovely time to reflect on my goals, on the world around me and to consider what steps I must take to achieve what I classify as success. About life. About the new and exciting opportunities society is creating for us…and about the future of being a creative. You know why? Because the world needs us now, more than ever! So for those who are struggling with their “challenges”, and finding the days events fluctuating and wearing them down, I think it’s a good time to cover staying motivated. Let’s look ahead and prepare for the pot holes and see if we can avoid them altogether. Chances are you already know these things—but we all need a reminder from time to time.
Create CheckpointsOne of the best ways to stay motivated that I have used is a checkpoint strategy. How long would you continue traveling down a road if you had no idea if you were going in the right direct? How long would you stay true to your goals, if you had no outside indicators of your progress? This is HUGE with writers. We’re an emotional lot. Deny that at your own peril—but there’s a wide range of emotions, which includes ego and pride. We all seek some form of validation. We want to know that the painful effort of writing a book is WORTH it. When we don’t have reader feedback, decent sales, or reviews, which society and the industry shout are so critical, it drives us nuts. We question ourselves, our work, our value. Try writing 20 books before you started receiving that writers validation. It’s rough. Taking huge or hard goals and chopping it up into tiny bit-sized pieces makes it more manageable. Look at it like a marathon race. No one dashes out and runs as fast as they can all the time. They pace themselves and focus on the checkpoints—so they can leave their minds in the zone and focus on progress. Focus on what IS being accomplished, not what is lacking. That’s a vacuum you should avoid.
Creation comes FIRSTI’m a writer. Love saying that—because it took me 9+ years to finally accept it. I’m a writer. Since 2005 I’ve written dozens of books and three of them were novels over 500 pages each. That being said, there are simple, yet specific rules to follow if you’re a writer. The number one rule isn’t voice, prose, or spelling. It’s writing. You heard me. The #1 Rule to writing is WRITING. Sit your butt down in that chair and pound out that book, article or game outline. Whatever you write, get to it. Social media doesn’t matter.
Marketing doesn’t matter.
Newsletters don’t matter.
…because if you’re focused on anything other than completing your book as a priority, you’re wasting time putting the cart before the horse. You’ll find that those who say otherwise are usually marketing programs trying to get into your wallet. Seriously. Look around. Even other authors—they’re selling you something. “Its coming,” is far less effective than, “Look what I have for you!” Finish your %#@$#!! book. Correct and refine your work as best you can after you have it in hand. Nothing substantial will come of your efforts until you have something to GIVE.
What others think DOES matterThis is a double-edged sword. While we don’t want to let what is said about us to pull us down or influence our work for the worse—we should also take the time to allow compliments feed our soul. We all can use a pick-me-up from time to time. There are also people who love us and want to see us succeed...so let them love and appreciate you. If you’re a writer, there are few things more powerful than a fan contacting you to tell you how much they loved your work. I cannot express the energy and drive I feel after such a conversation. It’s all about balance—a key to staying motivated, holding onto the positive and letting go of (or ignoring) the negative.
Remember what you WANT to beIt’s critical to keep a clear view of your target goal. Not just what you’re trying to achieve, but who you’re trying to BECOME. Each and every step you take creates subtle shifts in your life, helping you further down the path. My own habit is to create goals that are just beyond the furthest distance I have reached before. Just enough to make me stretch. Knowing I want WantedHero to be a world phenomenon alters the choices I make. Not only do I have to write—I must write well, consistently, create draw and build relationships with readers, critics and associates. It requires a business sense I don’t yet have, so I study, learn and practice—which in turn affects every other aspect of my life as a professional.
Be careful what you sayWords have power. Be careful what you say out loud, to yourself. Words have the power to discourage, corrupt and derail you from your path. Cease from using the word “if,” when describing your goals. Use “when” instead. Don’t say “need,” use “want,” which is more proactive. Every word you use isn’t just affecting those you speak to—but your own spirit and subconsciousness.
Remind yourself of where you’ve beenSometimes what it takes to keep going is looking back. Being an Indie Author has so many challenges to face and overcome. Things to learn, do, and endure. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that for yourself, but I would give a resounding “YES!” Every choice I’ve made to this point has made me a stronger person and has granted me opportunities to be of service to others. I take time weekly to sit quietly and ponder what I’ve experienced. Who I have met along the way and been able to help—or who I have been helped by. Personally, I pray God to bless them for their willingness to help a soul like me along my course, especially when it felt almost impossible to take another step. At the same time, I take the time to list what has been accomplished. …the steps I’ve taken that were said to be impossible. They weren’t. They were simply steps others were unwilling to take themselves. That makes this journey that much more to me.
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