“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”
Zig Ziglar, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World
“It's not that some people have willpower and some don't... It's that some people are ready to change and others are not.”
“I was saving my life with every word I wrote, and I knew it.”
Tobias Wolff, In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War
“I don’t feel like it.” Are there are any five words more destructive to Purpose and personal growth than those? How much of my life and time was wasted because I didn’t feel like doing my work? How many opportunities did I miss? How much money did I lose? How much genuine fun did I miss? How badly did I damage my self-esteem? It took me a long time to realize that I rarely felt like doing my work.
Once in a while my Muse would speak to me. More accurately, she would grab me by the collar and tell me what to write. But most of the time, I would wait for her to do that. It took a long time for me to realize that she doesn’t serve me; I serve her. I serve my Muse by sitting down and doing my work. The more I do, the more I show my love for her.
This doesn’t apply just to my writing. It applies to all areas of my life. When I was in my 20’s I worked at a 7-11. I was making about $4.00 an hour. I was not the best worker and I often wonder why my boss didn’t just fire me. I felt bad about myself. My I-don’t-feel-like-working feeling didn’t work for me. In fact, it worked against me. It damaged my self-esteem and my finances. I had a friend who worked at another 7-11 who was making twice what I was making. He was a good man and a hard worker. Not only did I feel bad about myself, I was losing money besides. Now I work even when I don’t feel like it, at least most of the time. Today, however, right now I am working.
I sit here, once again, the third time today (two blogs and one Morning Write), trying to serve my Muse and perfect my craft. I don’t mean to sound pretentious, but if I want to be a writer, I have to write. There are no shortcuts. If anything, I should be putting more time into this.
I have a lot of time off coming up in the next few weeks. I want to use that time well. This means I can’t treat my time off as a vacation. I want to wake up at 5:00 and write. I’d like to write at least two blogs every day. I’m close to 600. Could I reach 650 by July 1st? If I wrote three a day, I could. But I’d have to stay really focused.
Okay, this is how my mind works:
· I set a goal.
· Is it ridiculous?
· Is it necessary?
· Am I pushing myself?
· Am I doing this out of guilt over the past?
· Would this be a good time to push myself?
· Would it be a bad time to push myself?
· Why do I want to do this?
· Is this the best goal to set for myself or should I focus on my other goals?
I don’t have the answer to any of these questions. So I’ll put them to my Muse and wait for her answer. In the meantime, I will keep working on my writing and reading. I want to make the best use of the next seven weeks. In fact, I don’t see why I can’t get a lot done if I use every moment wisely and well. I feel motivated and I’m going to capitalize on that motivation by doing more work when I’m done here.
At the beginning of this blog, I didn’t feel like writing, but I did. Now I feel like doing more. Part of the reason I write every day is to keep myself motivated. Motivation doesn’t come automatically. It usually comes after I start working, not before. I need motivation to recharge my batteries, just like I need to eat every day. So I’ll keep writing and I’ll keep reading and I’ll keep working. I’m very excited about the next few weeks.
I’m going to set tough goals so that at the end of my time off, I will have greater self-esteem and hopefully even more money. Most of all, I’m going to do this because it’s the right thing to do. I already did the Get Started part. Now I’m going to Keep Going…whether I feel like it or not.