Motivation Madness

Congratulations to WARA member Fran Fowlkes for placing 2nd in GRW's Maggie Award!

One of the hardest things in life to learn is that sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do or just don't feel like doing.  I learned, my kids learned, and my grandkids are now learning that, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, you don't always get to do what you want.

Procrastination lives and thrives on the absence of motivation.  In fact, the two are pretty much polar opposites.  I don't remember a time when I've been motivated to procrastinate.  So how do you  motivate yourself when you're stuck in procrastination mode?

Yes, this is a hard one.  Most of us tend to overdo and set goals that are too difficult, and then we give up before we make much progress.  When setting goals, make sure your goal is reachable.  There are a few things to keep in mind that will keep you from giving up before you barely get started.

  • If you work a full time job, you don't have hours and hours to devote to your goal.  Add a family to care for, and the time gets smaller and smaller.  But you don't need a big block of time.  Lunch time can often net you a small block.  Driving to and from work is a good time to do some brainstorming or listening to motivational tapes/CDs.  Can you give up one television show a week?  What about computer games?  I'll admit that Spider Solitaire is one of my big downfalls.
  • Discover if you're an OWL or a LARK (a night owl or an early bird).  Once you learn which one you are, you'll be able to pinpoint your peak times and can put them to good use.  Larks can get up earlier in the morning when the house is quite, while owls can set aside time at night, often when everyone else has gone to sleep.
  • Make a pact with a friend to work on changing your routine to allow for more time for your goals.  Or maybe work out a schedule with a friend where you'll watch her kids, giving you some extra time, and then you do the same for her.
  • Use goal-setting tools such as NaNoWriMo (next month!) or WARA's BIAW.
  • Break a large goal into smaller ones.  Do you have a goal for the year?  Break it down into months, then weeks, then what you need to do daily to reach that big goal later.

One big reward is always nice when you've reached that major goal, but what about the getting there?  Have you been working hard and reached one of your smaller goals on the way to the bigger one?  Or maybe you've finished that big goal and need to celebrate.  Incentives and rewards can help keep you on track.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but be sure to add your own!

Small, inexpensive, and even free for the small goals:

  •  An ice cream treat.
  • A trinket from the dollar store.
  • An extra hour of television
  • Window shopping
  • A long nap
  • A trip to a park
For those big goals when they've been met:
  • A movie with friends
  • A new hairdo
  • A spa day
  • A manicure
  • A new book (and the time to read it!)
  • A weekend away

Once you've set your goals and are ready to begin, ask yourself these questions:
  1. Have you set goals for the week, whether writing or life?
  2. Are these goals part of a long term goal you're working toward?  Or simply a stand-alone goal for something special?  (Don't worry, it doesn't matter.  It only needs to be specified in your mind.)
  3. Have you chosen a reward for reaching a goal, whether a mini-goal that's part of a bigger one, or a single one?
  4. If this is a must-reach goal, have you alerted friends and family that you will be unreachable during specified times?
  5. Are you prepared to force yourself to work toward your goal, when every fiber of your being cries out, "I just want to have fun!"?  (Yes, this is here because of personal experience...every day.)
If you still not sure or if you need a little push to keep you going, try MOTIVATION MONDAYS at my blog Diary of a Mad Romance Writer.  Together we'll set goals, keep the motivation going when times get rough, and celebrate the journey.
Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines. ~ Brian Tracy 


Joan Vincent said...

Rox, This is an excellent post on how to succeed at writing. Thanks for the reminders! W@ith life's distractions we can't get them too often.

Rox Delaney said...

Thanks, Joan. If I don't make myself set goals, I'd get nothing done. Those life distractions make it even harder. I keep learning. When one way to meet my goal has lost its power, I have to find another. It seems nothing is static. I try to look at it as another challenge to find something new that does work. That can take a while. LOL