Every independent author wants to get their book out. Whether they want to make a living from their work or they just want the sense of accomplishment that goes with publishing their book, you are a writer so you can write.
The problem is, I have found myself go weeks - even months - without writing. As someone who has been working on this novel for… two years now? I really want to wrap up Archangel and get to writing again. But something has been stopping me.
And I am not alone in this problem. Every indie author, especially those who are working on their first book that is planned for market, have had problems with just getting it done.
Lately, though, I have felt a lot more motivated. I have been accomplishing things at a lot more quickly than I have before. So, today I just wanted to reflect on what changes I have made that have impacted my motivation.
The first and most important change was in my mental health. If you follow me on Twitter, odds are you know that I quit my traditional job on August 31st. I have gone back to school and decided to supplement my income by starting my freelance career in earnest (Shameless shoutout to @bigredpenedits).
Those closest to me knew that I did not like my job. It was not necessarily a bad job and I appreciate my time there. But the job was mentally taxing, unrewarding, and I felt like I was stuck there. Probably forever.
With the support of friends and family, I was able to take that step away from what - at times - sent me into serious bouts of depression. And those same friends and family have already noticed a remarkable change in my attitude and my mental health.
Before we go on, please understand that mental health is not a subject to be taken lightly, and I consider myself lucky that one change made such an impact for me. If you struggle with mental health, reach out to someone you are close with, or even to me! I will also link a couple of resources that might be helpful in your situation.
It is hard to focus on what you want to do if you are not even sure what you want to do. You might say, “I want to write a book”. But that doesn’t magically happen overnight. It requires planning, outlining, drafting, writing, editing, getting feedback, revising.
I have always said I am an advocate for goal setting, but sticking to those goals was a different story. I have since realized, in the long time since I have genuinely blogged, that I was setting unrealistic goals. A goal can’t motivate you if that goal is too big, too unattainable.
So I buckled down and took a good look at my goals. I even bought a goals journal, which I thought was ridiculous at first but has since become one of my favourite tools.
I made SMART goals. I made big goals. I made small goals. Even accomplishing a small goal - I want to write 500 words today, I want to secure one freelance editing job today - is satisfying. It is like crossing an item off your to-do list. It feels so good.
If you haven’t already, take two minutes before you continue with this blog and write down three goals: one you want to accomplish tomorrow, one you want to accomplish in a week, and one you want to accomplish in a month. Write them down, share them on social media, or text them to your sister. Then, once you have accomplished them, share your success! Heck, tweet at me (@dwlandsborough) when you accomplish one of your goals!
This is something that I have never really opened up about in a blog or on social media. It was something that I never really considered a problem, either. It wasn’t until I actually sat down and added up how much money I owed and how much debt I was in that I realized how much it was hurting me.
It seemed like every paycheque I received at my old job went to the essentials and minimum payments. And I was planning on leaving my job, which seemed scary when I couldn’t pay off these debts with a steady paycheque.
So my fiance and I sat down and drafted an actual budget. How much we need to live and what we could afford to spend on “extras”, like dates, unexpected expenses, etc. I consider myself lucky; my savings, combined with grants I have received with going back to school, cover my essentials for my time in school.
Thus, I have decided that every extra dime I have is going towards paying off my debt. Like your goals, there is something incredibly satisfying about taking that grand total of debt you have and knocking off chunks at a time.
If you think it would be helpful, I would not be opposed to doing a completely transparent financial breakdown. For those who are following in my footsteps and making a huge life change, I know that it could be helpful to see exactly what is happening.
Are these three things sure ways to motivate you again? I can’t guarantee that. Everybody is different, everyone is going through different struggles that affect their motivation. But if this can help even one person motivate themselves to fulfill their passion, whether that is writing a book or something else, then it is worth it.
Let me know in the comments how you keep yourself motivated. Do any of the three topics I talked about resonate with you?
As always, until next time, my friends.