Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Know Why You Write - Staying Focused

How Motivated Are You?

I don't really have a problem with motivation, because I am driven by fury and pain. The truth is, I want it. I want it a lot. From the moment I wake up until the moment I pass out, I am driven by an all consuming need to keep pushing myself above and beyond until I break.

If we've never met in person, you now know why the word 'intense' is often used to describe me.

I suspect a lot of you read that and thought 'well, I don't have that drive, so I can't do what you do'. You probably don't want my drive, as its probably more of a curse than a blessing. However you can definitely up your own drive and maybe live with some happy medium between what you have now and a passion so intense you are willing to run yourself into the ground for it.

What Motivates You To Write?

If you want to be driven to write, you have to have a good reason. Writing is amazing, but it's also hard. No one wakes up and starts running 30 miles a day without some purpose--be that purpose competing in a marathon, losing weight or getting healthier.

Likewise, there are lots of reasons to write. Money, fun, a desire to share a message with the world, a dissatisfaction with what is available. You need to identify yours. But for this to work, you have to be honest.

            - Write a list of all the reasons you want to write.
            - Order them from most important to least important.

Let's say you write 'fun' as your primary reason. When you sit down to write, is it really fun? Do you love it and look forward to it? Or is it stressful and hard? Do you actually love writing or just the idea of it? Next time you sit down to write, remind yourself you're supposed to be enjoying it. To be honest, remembering I loved writing got me past writer's block and rekindled my love affair with writing a few years back. I had forgotten it was SUPPOSED to be fun. I stopped writing shit that wasn't fun, focused on the stuff I loved and now I am keen to write every morning again.

Let's say your reason is money. Realistically, are you making much money from writing? Do you honestly believe you have the drive and passion to keep slogging at it, day after day, researching, learning, pushing, until it becomes profitable? Are you willing to hinge your whole life on the elements of luck that produce a best seller? If not, look at better ways to earn money. Be a pharmacist or a plumber. If you are dead set on earning a living from writing, don't delude yourself. Be aware of what it takes, what it REALLY takes, and if it your all. 100% commitment.

Start Asking Yourself Why?

Go back to your list. Let's say you put down money as your main goal. Why? What do you want the money for? What are you going to spent it on? How does it add value you your life? Let's say you are in the same boat as me and want to build a house with the money. Why? Why do you want to build a house?

            - Take your list of reasons and ask yourself why you want them.
            - Keep asking yourself why on each level of want until you reach your core desire.

I want to build a house so I can protect and care for my family. Being disabled and chronically ill, I can't work a regular job. There's not much I can do but write. I have exhausted all other avenues for protecting and caring for my family but for writing (and marrying rich, I suppose).

Maybe you said you want to be famous. Why? Maybe you said you want to be loved. Is being a published author the best way to be loved? Would it be quicker and easier to be loved by working on your social skills, doing charity work and throwing yourself into helping your community and strengthening bonds with your friends and family? Maybe you will realise that writing will not fulfil what you are writing FOR.

Remember Your Reasons

Now you have either realised writing will never get you what you want and you don't enjoy it, or you have a true, core reason for writing every day. You need to rephrase your awkward list as one or two sentences.

            - I write because..... fill in your reason.

Maybe you have two or three of these, because you have two or three reasons for writing. Once you have your sentences, you can print them and put them somewhere you will see them every day. Over the toilet is good.

Turn Your Reason Into An End Goal

Finally, you can turn you reason into a lifetime goal:
- Earn $1, 000, 000 from writing.
- Sell 1, 000, 000 copies of my books.
- Buy a four bedroom house on half an acre outright.

Then you can build a plan to reach it. However I think we will save goal planning for another blog post.

I hope these steps have allowed you to re-evaluate your relationship with your writing. Please let me know if this post led to any epiphanies. I love hearing when you guys get something worthwhile from my articles.

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