After announcing that I finished my first draft I had several people ask me how I found the time and motivation to write. Here’s what my daily life looks like, I drive an hour to work, spend ten hours there and then drive an hour back home. So, I technically spend twelve hours a day at my day job. Plus, I have social media accounts I have to be active on. Oh, don’t forget about the everyday things I have to do to keep myself from looking like I just rolled off the nearest park bench from under my newspaper blanket (Some days the struggle is real). Then squeeze in time to write a blog post for the week and work on a story project for my blog. Phew, that just sounds exhausting… and it is.
So these are my five tips to keep myself from losing sight of my dreams.
1.) Write Every day.
You don’t have to write on your current or main project every day. Instead, you could write a blog post or a side project just something to keep the creative juices flowing. After twenty-one days of doing something consistently, it becomes a habit. Now, if I go without writing for a day, I get a little anxious about it. But then again, I get a little anxious about the mailman knocking on the door so, I could just be crazy. I also find that the words flow better too. They seem to glide out on a silver runway rather than be pulled out with spikes on their shoes. It can be a little, or it can be a lot, just write.
2.) Make a schedule.
I don’t necessarily need a schedule to write because I’m afraid giving myself only a limited time or a set time would lead me to obsess over the time rather than the content. The bigger problem is my work schedule varies so, I would have to adjust to a new schedule every week. It’s just easier to be flexible as long as I write something.
I do use a schedule to keep my Facebook page posts consistent and plan out blog posts in advance. Sometimes things don’t always line up with my plan (I don’t think I used one blog post I planned out for this month) but at least I am prepared for the weeks that I need extra ideas.
Now, just because making a writing schedule doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it. Maybe, you could try writing immediately after you get home from work before the kids get off the bus or getting up an hour early for work. Just try out a few different places or times until you find what works for you.
3.) Set goals.
I set monthly goals for myself. For example, for March my monthly goals are:
- Post on social media daily (I failed at this one for February).
- Grow my Facebook page by 100 likes (I’m going to try hard, but I’m biting my nails)
- Finish Emilia’s story for my blog
- Start my outline for my revisions of Spark (But I can’t start that until Emilia’s story is in the hands of Beta readers).
Setting monthly goals is what has been working for me, but you can try daily, quarterly or yearly goals. I typically write out quality daily goals on my days off. Usually, they consist of writing a blog post, writing a certain number of scenes or writing to a particular point. Then any other miscellaneous things I have to do throughout the day. I find writing them down and being able to cross them off is just a little extra reward.
Another thing you can try is word count goals. I don’t like them very much; it’s kind of like setting a time, I obsess over the word count rather than the content, but it might work for you.
4.) Self Motivation.
I have always been a self-motivated person. I believe in giving 110% in whatever you do.That explains why by the time I was 23 I was an Assistant Manager for my current employer and I became a Store Manager by 25. I always work hard for my goals, and I don’t let anyone stand in my way. I am always looking for ways to improve myself, and I know to do my best I have to take constructive criticism and apply it. I don’t rely on anyone else to get me motivated.
The only person that will make your dreams happen is you.
5.) Ask yourself, why?
If none of these things give you the motivation to start or finish a project then ask yourself why you want this? If that reason doesn’t make you eager to start then maybe this isn’t what you are supposed to do. I’m not trying to be harsh or mean, just honest and realistic. If your reason doesn’t make you want to jump up and start working then find a new reason that does or explore something else.
For me, I’m passionate about my work, and I want to be able to share my creativity with the world. It’s fun and relaxing to be able to escape to a different place and time. I have people who are excited to see what I come up with and I sure as hell don’t want to disappoint them.
I hope my tips this week have helped you and I look forward to seeing your work in the future. As always don’t forget to follow my page to keep up on the progress of Spark and any writing tips I find along the way. If you have a topic, you would like me to cover on a future blog feel free to drop a comment below, message me on my contact me page or tweet me @shauna_philp.