Sunday, August 19, 2018

Motivation: A Small Treatise on Getting Shit Done

Folks, it's been a hell of a week. Nothing particularly happened, I've just been having one of those 'all I want to do is curl up under a blanket and sleep for eight years' weeks. One of those weeks where it honestly feels like nothing is going to work out.

You know, if you're doing this there are a couple of hard rules. You don't have a boss yelling over your shoulder so you have to be your own motivator. You have to set deadlines for yourself. You have to write, every day, no matter what shitty thing happens and no matter how much you don't feel like it.

I broke the rules. I skipped a day of writing.

The sudden thought that you're not going anywhere is paralyzing. I've been blessed not to have had that happen as often as others, but usually that's because I'm too busy to think twice about it. I'm an author. I'm going to keep being an author. There is no alternative, this is it.

Once in a while there comes a day where it's just crippling. It's been months since I've had one. Like I said, I've been lucky. (See, I don't neglect my fiction like I neglect my blog.)

Still, it was a blow. I feel horribly guilty on days when I don't get anything done. Usually, if I don't work on my fiction it's because I've got an article in the works, or a freelance job to do (another sad fact; you have to prioritize the projects that are actually making money, and you end up sinking a lot of time into finding those).

This time, I just fell through the cracks.

I know a lot of people that do that. People that talk about writing and want to write and always have a project in the works, but they aren't writing. Not actively. That's the difference between my friends that have books and the ones that don't. The ones that do get back up and write.

I don't give two turtle shits how long it's been since the last time you got up and wrote something. Get up and write something. Set yourself a word count, give yourself a goal and go meet it. It's like being a runner, you know. You get tired more easily when it's been a while since you've done it and you have to keep those literary muscles limber if you want to get shit done.

So if it's been a while, give yourself a small goal. 500 words. If it's been a couple of weeks, go easy on yourself and do 1k. Just get up and write something. And then tomorrow, get up and write more on that something.

A novel is 60k words or more. You do 1k a day, in two months, you'll have the first draft of a novel. Make it a part of your routine, and damn whether your motivated or not. One word after another makes a sentence and one sentence after another makes a paragraph, makes a page, makes a chapter, makes a book.

I skipped yesterday. Then I woke up today and did a day and a half of work. I feel better today than I have any of the days before now and it made up for the sink I found myself in yesterday.

Lately, I've been doing 2k a day and taking it easy on myself. I think I'm going to make 3k my new regular for a while. Writing the first book is the hardest part. You do it once, you know beyond a doubt that you can do it again. So do it.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

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