Missing Motivation

When my tweens neared the end of their school year back in June, I was in the practiced habit of settling in at my desk once they were off to school. As someone who struggles to not lounge around in my pajamas all day, I recognized that to get them up and going required that I get myself up and going. 

And then, suddenly, they were always…here. Lounging in their pajamas. The momentum that getting up and going early in the morning gave me was gone.

I advocate hard for writers to schedule their work in advance, to know which of their writing tasks they are going to do when and where. This is a practice I started about a year ago, and it has made a world of difference in my productivity. 

But when the end of the school year was looming, I thought, “Let’s just see how the summer plays out. I’ll just write when I find the time.” 

In other words, I didn’t take my own advice. 

I stopped planning ahead. 

I stopped blocking out time in my schedule. 

I stopped breaking my writing into manageable pieces in advance so that – when I did have the time – I knew exactly what to work on. 

And what was the result? I didn’t write one single word all summer. 

Now had I planned for that to be the case, that would have been one thing. But instead, I expected to write and then let myself down by not doing it. 

Which feels terrible, by the way. 

Today, as we settle back into our school-year rhythms, I’m reflecting back on the summer and my lack of writing productivity.

It is so obvious to me now. 

Break apart writing tasks into manageable pieces. 

Block writing time on the calendar. 

Assign writing tasks to the writing times. 

My kids are 11 and 13. It’s not like we hadn’t had summer vacations before. If I had followed these three steps, I would have gotten a lot closer to where I wanted to be with my current writing projects. I wouldn’t be playing catch-up now. 

I’m not looking at this as a failure, but rather an epic learning opportunity. 

Motivation doesn’t just happen. Motivation is the result of momentum. 

I didn’t keep up my momentum, I lost my motivation, and I didn’t write for three months. 

That won’t be happening again. 

Lesson learned, Self. 

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When you look back on times when you didn’t write despite having the time, what do you learn about your own habits and rhythms? What helps you maintain motivation when schedules and routines change? Come over to the {extra}ordinary stories Facebook community and tell us what works for you. We can all support and encourage one another.

Photo by Александар Цветановић from Pexels

 

Stop wondering what to work on and where to start, and start making real progress toward a finished piece of writing.

Take one sitting to plan what you will do – and when – and your first draft is as good as done!

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