Thursday, July 06, 2006


I was asked recently what keeps me motivated to press on. Why, in the face of the regular chaos that inhabits my life, do I continue to push myself to achieve the difficult goals I've set? There's nothing in this world that says I must create a finished book in three months, a rough draft in six weeks, three books a year... Nothing except me, and my drive to succeed.

But it's a question I've been contemplating quite often over the last several days as I try to fit everything into not enough hours. Ultimately, the answer is I keep myself motivated. But I most definitely couldn't do it alone. Many of you know several of us are working on this rough draft challenge right now. The end is in sight and so are those last chapters of my book. But let me be the first to shout that without the women trudging along beside me I might not have made it.

There were plenty of days I wanted to let it go - to drop the pages I was supposed to produce and watch TV, read a book, take a bath, even take a nap. Most days, the thought of posting a zero when I knew everyone else was struggling just as much as I was but would still be reporting pages was enough to keep me going.

I'll be honest and say I didn't quite reach my goal for today. But I did get 2.7 alphasmart pages (about 5.4 ms pages) done tonight which is more than I would have written without the ladies around me. So, I'd like to publicly thank them. They might not realize how much of an inspiration their own challenges have been but without their honesty and perseverance I know I wouldn't be close to that finish line.

What motivates you to tackle that project you don't always have the energy for - especially when you know you do have the heart?


Word Count Meter

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57,750 / 70,000


Smarty Pants said...

My therapist in college said I was driven by a fear of failure. For the most part, I try to set myself up to complete tasks I know I can succeed at. (Notice I don't run any marathons - I KNOW I won't finish.) Writing books is one of the few things I'm just compelled to do despite the fact that I may very well fail. Of course, who's to say that I've failed until I'm dead? I may not publish now, but in 20 years I might, and that's not failure, is it?

Social and peer pressure are also good motivators for me. That accountability keeps me going, even though if I miss my goal, no one is going to beat me with a wet noodle.


Instigator said...

I have one of those wet noodle things sitting unused in my pool. I may have just found another use for it. ;-D


Kathy said...

I also have wet noodles. Strange, I never thought of using them that way. How enlightening!

I think I'm a lot like you SP, in that I way lay myself by not getting the writing done. Because if I finish, I will have to submit and if I submit and fail, well.... Here we go, the vicious cycle repeats itself. This challenge that you've included me in has done wonders for my motivation level. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to ride alongside you on this quest. That's how I look at it, a journey for the holy grail. (Putting the story together, seeing it flourish and getting it published.)

Where would King Arthur be without Lancelot and Sir Galahad? We are that and more to each other.


Problem Child said...

Nora Roberts had a great sentence in Montana Sky: "Sometimes you have to swallow what you can't spit out."

When my motivation lags, I think of that line. Usually, I can't "spit out" a project or commitment, so I just have to "swallow" and get on with it.

Let's skip the sexual metaphors...

Playground Monitor said...

I have this almost equal balance of fear of failure and fear of success. It toddles one way and then the other, just enough to keep me paralyzed a lot of the time. But when I manage to break free it's amazing what I can accomplish.

Right now I'm just in lazy summer mode. I took a week off to visit my sister and I'm having a heckofa time getting back in the swing of things. At least I have solved the belt dilemma with my dress for the awards ceremony in Atlanta. Now to find an evening bag.