How to Stay Motivated

Here we are, nearing the end of 2022, the craziest (and hardest) year I’ve ever had in my lifetime and the most challenging when it comes to being a writer/artist. I've had COVID three times, 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 wants 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 it's 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.   Because the world needs us now, more than ever!   So for those struggling with their “challenges” and life events fluctuating and wearing them down, I think it’s a good time to talk about staying motivated.   Let’s look ahead and prepare for the pot holes. If we can avoid them altogether, we'll be in excellent shape to meet 2023 head on. Chances are you already know these things — but we can all use a reminder from time to time.    

Create Checkpoints

One of the best ways to stay motivated, is using 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 — becuse we all face a wide range of emotions, including ego and pride. We all seek some form of validation. We want to know the painful efforts of writing a book is WORTH it.   When we don’t have reader feedback, it cripples many of us. The lack of decent sales and reviews, which society (and the industry) shout at us relentlessly "THESE ARE CRITICAL", "IF YOU DON'T HAVE THEM, YOU MUST BE FAILING", can drive us nuts. We question ourselves, our work, our value.   Try writing 20 books before you started receiving that 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. Granted, I would never run a marathon -- even if you lead me along with a truck of doughnuts, but my point is FOCUS.   Focus on what IS being accomplished, not what is lacking. That’s a vacuum you should avoid.    

Creation comes FIRST

I’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 matter

This is a double-edged sword.   While we don’t want to let what's said about us pull us down, or negatively influence our work — we should also allow compliments to 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 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 love 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 be

It’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, and build relationships with readers, critics, and associates. It requires a business sense I don’t yet have, so I study, learn, and practice — asking questions at every turn -- which then affects every other aspect of my life as a professional.    

Be careful what you say

Words have power. Be careful what you say out loud, to yourself. My dear friend Lyraine is likely rolling her eyes at this point, because I'm known for my self-deprecating humor.   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. Try using the word "challenge" instead of "problem" and you'll find your perspective change.   Every word you use isn’t just affecting those you speak to — but your own spirit and subconscious.    

Remind yourself of where you’ve been

Sometimes what it takes to keep going 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 silly old man like me, struggling along my path, especially when it feels almost impossible to take another step.   At the same time, I take the time to list what has been accomplished. The steps taken that others said were 'impossible'.   Because they weren’t impossible. They were just steps others were unwilling to take themselves. The worst thing we can do to ourselves is take someone else's insecurities and shortcomings and place them upon our own shoulders.   It's insane, unwise, and to support my friend Lyraine's recent loving chastisement, it's self-abuse. Don't do it.   You're worth more than that.   Remember, I'm rooting for you.
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10 Dec, 2020 22:38

Geesh, get well soon!

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
11 Dec, 2020 05:08

Working on it!

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11 Dec, 2020 02:39

I hope you feel better. Also, good read. I need to finish my %#@$#!! book :)

- Hello from Valayo! Featured work: How to Write Great Competition Articles
11 Dec, 2020 05:09

Keep at it. One step and one day at a time...

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Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
11 Dec, 2020 08:58

Take care of yourself Jaime! I hope you'll feel better soon. And thank you for your encouraging words!

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
16 Dec, 2020 11:22

Thank you--I'm trying. Progress is very slow, but still progress =)

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11 Dec, 2020 23:42

I hope you feel better soon, Jaime. Thanks for this article - this is the kick I need to really work on myself and my goals next year.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
16 Dec, 2020 11:26

If it's motivated you to reach further and strive to achieve your goals, then I'm SO tickled!   I wonder so often how amazing this world would be, right now, if even 50% of us who have life-changing goals, stuck with them until achieved...??   What would society be like around us if half the folks met their heart-felt goals???

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12 Dec, 2020 22:55

You are absolutely right. Sometimes, I wonder what negative things will happen to me in the future. I also wonder if I get to go past them because there will also be positive things.

16 Dec, 2020 11:29

Then take this into consideration:   There truly isn't anything negative in life. Not if we are observant and grateful. ...EVERYhing was made for your improvement! EVERYthing was made to make you stronger!! if we open our minds and hearts, anything that happens to us will make us better, stronger, faster, sharper.....   wow.

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27 Nov, 2022 05:07

I always come back to read and re-read this. If I could, I would give it a new 'like' every time! Every. Single. Time. I feel like saying this is inspiring isn't nearly a good enough description! :)

27 Nov, 2022 07:28

Hehe, well you might like t even more on my Ko-fi page, but only because it has more pictures.   Thanks for the feedback, Kummer. I sure d appreciate you, buddy!

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27 Nov, 2022 13:52

You're very welcome, my friend. :D

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