Just a Friendly Reminder

I’ve had a pretty productive novel writing week, thanks to a combination of dedicated twitter #accountibilibuddies (hi Laura and DB!), a change of venue, and above all, a mindset of finishing what I start, no matter what the result may be.

The actual work I’m producing is really kind of boring and the dialogue is way stilted, but what I’m learning about my writing process far outweighs the embarrassment of reading my cringetastic writing. And, as a bonus, I’m so proud of reaching my daily page goals, that the feeling of success just motivates me to continue working on my novel some more.

Anyway, here are some lovely inspirational quotes so you can understand what mindset I was in.

 

I’ll eventually get the hang of balancing novel writing time and blogging time, but at least you understand why my posts have been pretty random lately!

Happy goal setting and achieving!

The Art of Letting Go

 

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”

Hermann Hesse

So. I have an opportunity to be promoted to another store manager position with my pay the bills company. I’ve decided to let it go.

It’s hard for me to do that. Even writing that I won’t pursue the position was hard. I’m an Achiever, after all, and I need to continue challenging myself, to feel that sense of accomplishment from conquering goals, to feel any sort of satisfaction.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs claims that the summit of motivation theory is self-actualization. It’s the idea of reaching one’s full potential as an individual. This need is never fully satisfied, because there’s always more opportunities to grow. I know I should feel lucky that my only issue in life (at this moment) is my need to grow into my full potential as a human being, answering questions about Life, The Universe, and Everything. Which made me realize: what would have been my reason for going after this other position?

I had to really stop myself and reflect on my true goals. My life goals. And I realized that to pursue this more challenging endeavor would give me the “excuse” of not pouring myself wholeheartedly into novel writing. I had to shift my sense of Achievement from my pay the bills job to my novel.

I know that I can succeed in any position in my company. I know that now. And, to go after a more challenging role would engage and entertain me for a while. But, soon, I’ll be feeling the same way as I feel now: bored, with a side of unfulfilled.

Honestly, I can say that, because I’m bored in my current one. I’m consistently a top performing store manager, and I’m trending to be the #1 store manager in my district again. This is my third full year as a store manager, and my third year as #1. And, up until this year, I had a second part time job and as of last year, a novel to write on top of that. Believe me when I say, I seek out challenging assignments.

This next few months, my challenging assignment is steeling myself against the temptation of “new and different” and allow myself to be bored in a field that fulfills my physiological, safety, social, and esteem needs; because my true area of growth, where I can feel like I’m growing into my full potential, is writing and story-telling. That’s where I need to spend the bulk of my time. That’s the challenge that I need to pursue as doggedly as I would for my pay the bills job. The satisfaction would last longer, I’m sure.

Don’t think too hard
If you think it hurts that bad
Don’t talk about it,
Don’t let it get you down
It’s only one part
Of the story
Just let it go,
Don’t let it bring you down
Now

Sing, the last thing on your mind
The last word on your breath
I’ll be the one to keep you
I’ll keep you at your best
The last thing on your mind
‘Cause I don’t need your mess
I’ll be the one to keep you
One disaster less

Straighten up your tie,
Take the microphone
Forget about it,
Don’t let it get you down
Now is not the time
And you are not alone,
Shut up about it
No one can bring you down,
Now

Sing, the last thing on your mind
The last word on your breath
I’ll be the one to keep you
I’ll keep you at your best
The last thing on your mind
‘Cause I don’t need your mess
I’ll be the one to keep you
One disaster less

I’ll be okay
I’ll be okay
If you…

Sing, the last thing on your mind
The last word on your breath
I’ll be the one to keep you
I’ll keep you at your best
The last thing on your mind
‘Cause I don’t need your mess
I’ll be the one to keep you
One disaster less
The last thing on your mind
The last word on your breath
I’ll be the one to keep you
I’ll keep you at your best
The last thing on your mind
‘Cause I don’t need your mess
I’ll be the one to keep you
One disaster less

Measuring Progress

02.19.10

Image by colemama via Flickr

This year is my Year of No Excuses.

Six months into it, I would have hoped to be a lot farther along than I am right now in terms of my writing goals. After all, I’m supposed to be revising/rewriting material that I’ve already written with a concept that I already know. This should be a lot easier than dashing through a rough draft of “What Happens Next.” Well, I could have only guessed at the “easier”, because I’ve never been in this stage before, one where I’m supposed to make rough drafts and rough ideas into a presentable, novel-length story.

So, honestly I didn’t realize how L O N G all this revising and rewriting would take, and how easily distracted I am now by bright, shiny ideas and remembering the rush I felt when I got to play with something new and unexplored.

And, to be really, really honest, I’ve had to overcome the belief that I didn’t have what it takes to write this story. And, when I say overcome the belief, I mean I had to do so many times. (Like, a lot. Daily. Maybe even this morning.) Even now, I have to drown out all the chatter about not being enough to write my WIP (or any other story, for that matter). The talent, the intelligence, the words, that indefinable It…whatever It is, I don’t have It enough to write. Of course, because I’m me, I don’t just get this as a one-time mental obstacle (which is hard enough to overcome on its own), but also as a recurring obstacle that likes to morph and come at me as different versions of “I Suck.” I won’t get into the nitty gritty, but I’m sure you get what I mean.

Of course, I realized that I focused on the wrong things entirely. First, I’ve been focusing on the time frame in which to finish my story, and kept getting discouraged that I wasn’t finishing quickly enough. Crazy, I know. Second, I lost sight of the idea that “All writing is practice.”

Laurell K. Hamilton wrote in a recent blog post, “Practice may not make perfect, but it certainly makes better.” She also went on to say that she desired to write well more than any other distraction. That even though she was years away from selling anything, she owed it to herself to finish a piece of writing . She owed it to herself to continue writing and finishing stories and sending them out for publication, because she knew that the only way to get better at writing is by doing it.

So, I’ve decided to narrow my focus on the story itself, and let go of all other expectations that I have of it. It will be finished when it’s finished. The one rule I have now is simply to write at a set time each day. No need to overcomplicate the process, which I seem to want to do (no surprise why I had to embrace the words “Simplify” and “Focus” last year, right?)

I owe it to myself to get these crappy words out and finished so that I can move on to the next batch of crappy words and the next batch. Pretty soon, the words will eventually become less crappy, and maybe even more polished. Because, I too want to write well enough to sell a story one day. And, the only way I can do that is to get out of my own way, and write and finish stories. The road to a pretty and polished story is paved with a ton of crappy versions of that story, so I might as well get started on my contributions.

 

So Tell Me: What’s Been Going On With You??