I’ve realised that the buzz of achievement is what drives me. Reaching a target, ticking off a task on a to-do list or being able to say ‘Yes, I’ve done that’: I enjoy really that feeling. It energises me.
Having set some definitive targets, I now feel more focused and prepared. Sometimes, if you can visualise that which you aspire to it makes it easier to achieve. If I believe I can edit 5,000 words and type up 2,000 words of my novel a week: then it shall be done.
As a result, I’ve already almost edited the allotted word count for this week. From my last post, when I had a total of 19,000 words in the edited First Draft, I’ve increased that to just over 24,000. All of a sudden, because I felt accountable again, I pushed forward. Knowing, also, that I could stop when I reach my target and either relax or move onto another project…it’s kept me going. And, I’ve enjoyed it.
As for Cecelia’s Story and how progress is there – I’ve managed to add another 750 words. While this piece of work isn’t as creative as writing or editing, it does fill the time well when I really can’t bring myself to switch on the brain and tackle such imaginative tasks. This means I can contribute to my novel even when I’m not really feeling inspired.
Building in rewards is also something that I have been reminded to do. I’ve spent the last few months knee deep in to-do lists, with only the occasional ‘fun’ thing to help keep me going. This is not how I work best. I need a prize for every accomplishment. It doesn’t have to be something amazing. A small acknowledgement that I have completed what I set out to do – an episode of my favourite TV show, a glass of wine, a game of tug-of-war with my dog, a nap. Any of these things might just remind my brain that it has done some good on that day.
It’s such self-discipline and knowledge of oneself that I think you need as a writer. Without understanding how best I work and what drives me, I can’t feel proud of what I am attempting, nor give myself credit for my dedication. I need these things. Without it I become doubtful, questioning my commitment and any shred of talent I might have. Never mind all the hard work and perseverance: if I don’t stop to take stock occasionally, acknowledge my efforts and reward my tired brain for all the hours we put in together…I’m a wasted employee within a company that does not value the individual.
As a writer there must be some means to keep up morale. In order to do this, you need to know what makes you tick, what is your driver, how you can get the best out of yourself without pushing too hard. You need to identify what energises you as a person and build that into your schedule.
Understand and implement this and writing can remain your passion, instead of your hobby.