Motivation or Habit

What keeps you writing motivation or habit??

In 2014 I lacked both — motivation and habit. But I’m turning it around this year… No really I am. I’m not motivated to write – yup that’s right, I’m NOT motivated to write. I’m motivated to create a habit to write. Last year I had hit a slump, a bump in the road…my lazy side had snuck in. I needed something new not only to get me (re)started but to keep me going as well.
I’ve heard (as I’m sure everyone has) that it takes 30 days to form a habit. So I decided that I would set a goal of writing every day for 30 minutes even if I could only come up with a 100 words. (Those 100 words add up) At end of 30 days I plan to increase to 60 minutes for another 30 days with the final daily goal of being 90 minutes. 90 minutes will be my minimum with more on the weekend and days off from the crazy day job.
Sometimes you need something to push you to get the wheels rolling again. Setting a goal can be very motivating. I knew that I always felt better when I write.

Motivation is what gets you started.
Habit is what keeps you going.

I didn’t even tell anyone what I was doing for the first few weeks. I had to prove to myself that I was up to the task and could keep the dark side of laziness in check. I didn’t get to my blog as I planned BUT I did write on my WIP everyday for 30 minutes and did achieve at least 100 words.

My goal of writing every day is helping me form a healthy habit. And once something becomes a habit, good or bad, it is hard to break. No longer is there a question of IF, it’s only a when and where. But I will leave that for another blog. For now…

Motivation Monday

I always told my kids to beware of the greener grass on the other side of fence. It could be painted cement. And of course, some say it could be astro turf or that you are looking through jealousy (green) colored glasses. Then there are those who say the greener grass will need to be cut more often. Regardless of the message the meaning is the same — the other side of the fence is better.

I struggle with ‘greener grass’ envy. I see fellow writers on the Facebook posting their awesome word counts and think “gee, they must have weed free grass so they have more time to write.” Then I pop all the self-pity balloons and shove the ice cream back in the freeze because I know that isn’t the case.

The last week was horrible on a personal and professional level. I had NO grass growing on my side of the fence; actually, I was standing in a field of mud and cow crap. One of my kiddos was plagued with poor choice disease which affected my grass.
Then I took a two week writing course that instead of helping me made me question everything I do. The instructor didn’t personally attack me! But the way the material was presented and her belief that pantser cannot write a quality book released thousands of self-doubt demons in my mind that beat the snot out of my muse. Now if I wasn’t deal with my kiddo’s issues I would have most likely shrugged it off with my go-to saying. “If we all wrote the same then the reader would have Nora Roberts’ books to pick from.” (I like Nora Roberts and have tons of respect of her work so this is no means a slam).

Sooo not only was all my grass dead, I also didn’t fit into the writer cookie-cutter. Needless to say I had a full blown self-pity party with unlimited donuts (and there may have been vodka involved). Of course, once my tummy started to hurt from the donuts, I started to see the green shoots of grass pushing through the mud and crap.
As I write this I’m sitting on my porch listening to the spring birds surrounded by green grass. Now of course, there will be times weeds pop up but I need to remind myself I’m armed with weed remover and push on.

Here are pictures of some of my weed removers….


Spending time with my grandson makes me smile – everytime

Time at the beach clears my mind

Time at the beach clears my mind

Crocheting keeps my fingers busy so they don't seek donuts and lets my muse run free

Crocheting keeps my fingers busy so they don’t seek donuts and lets my muse run free

Yup my library... Isn't it cool?

Time at my library makes my muse happy… Isn’t it cool?

What’s dangling from your stick?

I need to finish The Inheritance TODAY. So I can start before submission edits next week. Since I don’t have anyone waiting for this story, I have to come up with my own motivation. Dangling from my stick??

My reward :D

My reward 😀

Yup donuts. I hate carrots (and celery) so even if I wanted to do healthy it would never be those. As I’ve read about creating new habits and changing behavior patterns, one of the key steps is sitting up your rewards. Now some habits have their own ‘carrots’. Exercising regularly will allow me to wear jeans instead of yoga pants.

It’s stressed that you should select rewards or carrots that are beneficial so that you compelled to continue this new habit or behavior. I know that donuts aren’t good for me but I really don’t care, I need to finish this story so gets the job done. I’ve tried ‘good’ rewards to force the words onto the paper. Things like getting my nails done or a new book. While I enjoy both of these I didn’t review them as ample rewards for finishing a book of 80k. Food is my ultimate reward and comforter, hence the need for a lifetime ticket on the diet train. Since I have removed all donuts (one of my favorite indulgences) from my life over a year ago when I boarded the diet train they now are a special ‘carrot.’

While finishing a book is part of my ‘job’ and it’s part to be a writer without doing it, I also thinks it needs a ‘carrot’. When I finished a major project at the no-longer day job, I would reward myself, so completing a WIP falls into the same category in my way of thinking.

How do you determine what things you reward yourself for? How do you determine the reward?

Motivational Monday

I’m back… I wish I could say I just returned from vacationing on a white sandy beach with an incredibly good looking beach bum feeding me grapes and massaging my feet. BUT reality isn’t nearly as exciting (this is one of the reasons I write).

Usually for Motivational Monday, I post a picture of the hunky inspiration for my WIP hero however today, I’m talking about finding motivation in other places 😉

Saturday my family and I attended an art festival in a town about 80 miles away. The architecture is AMAZING. I took tons of pictures and developed tons of ideas, I’ll share some more tomorrow.

My current WIP is an urban fantasy. Zareb, my hero, works for the council as a ‘peace keeper’,

between the light and dark non-humans.

Zareb's protectors
Zareb’s protectors

The gargoyles on the building instantly struck me – first of all because they are not common in Northern Michigan. Second, because of their faces… instantly, I knew they stood guard over the building Zareb lives in. One is the dark and the other is the light. You’ll have to read the book to find out what role they play 😉

I’d love to hear about a building or a place that excited your Muse.

Motivation Monday ~

The WIP that refused to be written. While I suffer from shiny object disease and I’m the queen of half finished projects, I can be stubborn to a fault. So when my current WIP drew a line in the sand, game was on. 

I’ve rewritten the first chapter ((5)) times!  I’ve added points of view, taken points of away, added characters and taken characters away. I’ve written the over 18k only to have to dump it and restart. 

I know some writers feel it’s a mortal sin to walk away from a story never to finish it. However, I have a memory stick full of half done, three quarters done, and just started stories. So why not add this to the ‘bone’ yard?

Because now writing is my career – no longer a ‘hobby.’ With my shift to full-time writer, I found I had new responsibilities. I could no longer write just what I want – leaping from project to project. So how does sticking with one project when I should have completed two make me a professional?

 I’m learning the importance of planning or plotting. I don’t have the time to chase rabbits down holes and have tea with the Mad Hatter. Yes, I have more time to write but I need to make my words count. This is now my sole source of income.  To start a story and disregard is no longer an option.

So my motivation for this Monday – to streamline my writing to make it a career.


Motivation Monday ~ going for the gold

With the Olympics ending it’s hard to think about motivation without thinking about those who were part of them. Be it swimming, track, kayaking, basketball or one of the other sports athletics competed in the desire to be the best shone in them all. No athletic there would say he/she made it to London on their own. I’m sure they could name coaches, parents, siblings, spouses, and the list goes on of people who inspired, supported, or pushed them to be the great athletic they are (and I think anyone competing in the Olympics has outstanding dedication, motivation, and ability). Another thing all Olympic athletics have in common is their many ‘milestones’ along the way.


From a new project – A Year at the Beach Blog

As writers we also share many ‘milestones’ along the way that can act as motivators. Finishing our first novel.  Getting our first novel published (these may not be the same novel – I know several writers whose first novel are hidden away. It was the finishing that was important the honing of the skill came with the second). Receiving our first review (good and bad). Etc.

The ‘milestones’ change for writers as they develop their career as it does for an athletic. For one it maybe mastering a new swim stroke for another it may be to set a new record.  Each is motivated by different things. As with writers. I’ve said in previous post, I’m not extremely competitive so to join a yahoo group that focus on daily/weekly/monthly word counts does nothing to superglue my butt to the chair and keep me off facebook.

I’ve really struggled the last weeks with finding my motivation – hence the reason for Motivation Monday. While my switch from my full time EDJ to full time writing sounded great what I didn’t think about was the personal satisfaction element.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVE e-mails offering me book contracts but it isn’t the same as working closing with a student and helping her/him achieve a goal.

So after WEEKS of gorging myself on M&M’s to the point I can’t wear anything but yoga pants (which have never been worn to a yoga class) and my sweat shorts I realize it’s not the motivation I lack but the sense of accomplishment that I helped someone bury a personal demon. That we made a small step toward good.

Sometimes it’s hard to find your path in life…

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand finishing a book is an accomplishment but for me it doesn’t propel me to take the next step.  I started writing as a type of ‘therapy’ to handle the ‘darkness’ of my job. Gone is the darkness and with it the motivation to write.

So now I have identified the problem, how do I fix it? How do I make myself write? Well, first I decided I need to volunteer or do something that allows to me work with people. I need that interaction and that sense I’m contributing.  Not to return to the darkness that accompanied my EDJ but an outlet for my writing this time.

As each Olympic athletic has their own personal motivation pushing them toward the gold, writers also do it for a variety of reasons. Now that I have figured out what mine is hopefully, I can finish these two WIP‘s before I outgrow my yoga pants.

Recap – Motivation Monday ~

So let’s just say last week was a test in the unplanned. I lost my Internet Monday afternoon it came back on ‘briefly’ Friday – sort of like a teenage girl tease – then went down until Sunday Night.

Lesson learned here – have blogs written at least a week in advanced and scheduled to post.  Now this is a doable lesson. Sometimes my lesson vs reality ratio isn’t good.  But I generally know what I’m blogging about. I had last weeks all planned out so….

The weather here in my sweet Northern Michigan town where I complain that our four seasons are just different phases of winter has broken all records for heat.  All last week was in the upper 90’s with a couple of days kissing 100! Of course, our home doesn’t have AC – why when the average summer temp is 76?  The effects of this? My asthma went into psycho level. Trip to ER where student nurse told me I was fat…

This was the beach at 6:30 am… all last week after 8 am there was NO sitting room last week.

The effect of the weather? LOW word count.  The lesson here? Not sure there is one  for weather that hasn’t occurred in hundreds of years.  BUT I do need to not to become so derailed by bumps in the road. It’s sort of funny this happened because my EDJ was filled with bumps.  You don’t work with sever EI kids without there being a lot of sunk holes along your daily path.  I think some of the problem is that I still haven’t found my writing rhythm.

Which brings me to the focus of this week’s motivation Monday’s goal ~ what is my rhythm? In my EDJ I would talk to my students teachers in the morning (while they were still in a good mood) and make calls to homes after school, etc.

When will I get the highest word count? Mornings I have a ton of ‘natural’ energy. I think this comes from years of hitting the floor running. So I have been tackling my ‘house’ projects. The problem here –after six of hours of organizing kitchen cabinets, I’m not in the mood to write a hot sex scene. For some reason stacking plastic bowls isn’t a turn on for me – go figure.

I’m going to try ‘writing spurts’ throughout the day.  I’d love to hear how you block out your writing/editing time.

Sooooo true

Motivation Monday

Well let’s just say I’m glad last week’s goal rewards wasn’t dinner or I’d be the poster child for ‘starving artist’.  Again back to my years at my EDJ – review what didn’t work and make a new plan. Last week’s form of procrastination came in the form of avoidance through tackling other projects. I now have sparkly closets with neatly folded sheets (I did draw the line at ironing the sheets).  My recipes are now filed by season (chili in winter, honey glazed melon in summer etc). Do I need to continue?

I wish – but instead it’s 15,000 words on new WIP, 1 chapter editing, and plotting next WIP…

So for this week’s new plan – leave the house for a block of time. I plan on bringing my laptop but I haven’t decided on a spot L Today, I’m headed to the mall because it’s air conditioned and there is no wi-fi to lure me to facebook or twitter or blogs I love to read.

The local library has a wonderful summer program for the kids which means it’s going to be noisy (it’s a really small building) and there is wi-fi with the lure of books!!!!  I’m not sure about taking up a table in a local restaurant for several hours, I’d be willing to order something but still how long will a salad get you a table without being rude?

Later this week, I’m planning on using the local park. I’m waiting for a non-ninety plus day.  But picnic tables are real comfortable and while it’s called a laptop, I can’t balance it on my lap for hours. 

So I’ve established my word count, edit, and plotting goals for the week and month. Now I just need to figure out how I’ll achieve them.   

Do you leave to do your writing? If so where are some of your favorite spots?


Motivation Monday ~

First, I’d like to thank EVERYONE who stopped by and left me a comment during the Hot Summer Nights blog hop.  I”ll be e-mailing the five winners today to get your addy’s. 

Everyone needs motivation to accomplish a task or reach a goal. And what works for one person may not have any effect for another. During my years at my EDJ I had to constantly figure out what would motivate my students. For some a box of PopTarts would work wonders, others it was a 2 litter of soda, and then for those who could look long term there were shoes, jeans, or cell phones.


I’m the kitten and my current WIP is the big bird…

Now as I shift to full-time writer, I’ve come to see what use to work as motivation isn’t there. I no longer have restricted time but the major difference – I don’t need the escape. Before, I’d come home and need to rid my mind of the nightmares of my EDJ. I’d submerge myself into a hot sex scene, a cliff hanger suspense chapter, or a humorous exchange between characters and my day would fade away.

 So while I need to increase my output for the shift I need in income, I have found that last week’s word count was less then when I had strip throat.

 This smack in the forehead led to my subject matter – motivation.  What will it be? Now I know for some if they set personal daily word count goals, they are driven to meet it. Me? Not so much. My mind just doesn’t work like that. I’m not competitive by nature (the entire can’t color inside the line thing I have). I have the desire/want to be a full-time writer but then I also have the desire/want to live in a hut on a tropical beach and so far neither is happening.

 I’m setting goals again this week but I’m also taking into consideration I need ‘prizes’ attached to them. So I’m making a list of things I’d like. “Mini” prizes with a bigger one at the end of the week. 

 I’ll report back next week on which one worked and which didn’t. (I’d like to say I know this will be a ‘sure thing’ but also from experience I know that even though the goal/prizes are there the mental hurdles can block the success).

 So what are some of the things you use for motivation? Does a simple word count goal work for you?