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Managing Goals

Be A Boss! Write Every Day! Stay Positive!

Yeah, no. I try, I really do, but that’s just not me. I was a boss for 15 years in retail. It doesn’t feel that great. Writing every day would be nice, but I have a kid to educate, a dog to raise, a house to maintain, and life-consuming health issues to manage. You can take that “positivity” and stick it back on the kindergarten classroom wall, where it belongs.

Ok, rant over.

In all honesty, many of the feel-good, “happy vibes” quotes and pep talks can be momentarily uplifting, and the intention behind them is supportive. And, a lot of people swear they work. They’re motivated, buoyed, ready for anything! Hurray!

I have to work at motivation a lot harder. My depression and anxiety are strong opponents, and a simple “atta girl” just doesn’t work for me. Not longer than the time it takes to eat a cookie, anyway.

I’ve tried it all. Affirmations. Rewards. The Power of Positive Thinking. Stern authorities yelling at me that I’m just not trying hard enough. Youtube rants full of guilt trips and gaslighting. My brain rebels against it all.

So how do I stay on track and reach my goals.

HAHAHAHA, I don’t. Not quickly, anyway. I used to make HUGE goals. “Write a book in 30 days!” huge. But I’m a slow writer, agonizing over every word and plot point. Inevitably, I would fall short of such lofty goals month after month. The more I failed, the worse I felt, the less I wrote. Time to try a new tactic.

Sprints? Too much time staring at the screen. Write-ins? Ew, strangers. Accountability partner? Ain’t nobody got time for that. What to do, what to do?

Remember that kindergarten wall, the one with the superficially positive phrases? Let’s go back to that. Or, at least, to a common method used with children that age: mini goals.

I’m an instant gratification kind of person (much like other five year olds) and I need “rewards” to come in much more frequently than just once a month or week. Mini goals, little tasks I perform throughout the day, help me get that feeling of accomplishment without the constant fear of failure. For every task I complete, I get a little ego boost and a surge in motivation to do even more.

I have a lovely little planner made by an awesome group of writers (check it out here) that has been immensely helpful in keeping me on track. Every day, I write the list of mini goals I want to accomplish for the day, such as “edit chapter three”, “make a blog post”, “organize story notes”, and so on. Sometimes, they are simple things, like “name secondary character”. Simple reminders used as actionable goals. Every time I finish a task, I put a colorful little sticker next to it.

Yay! I earned a sticker! I love you, Miss Sianyn!

Yes, I am a perpetual child. Luckily, raising a child has given me a lot of insight in how to parent myself. My method may seem silly for a grown-ass adult to use on themselves, but hey, whatever works! It keeps me writing, and that’s all that matters.

What mini goals did I finish last week? 7,000 words on a series manual, outlined a novella, wrote an 8000 word short story, organized a back pile of random story notes, made a strategy plan for next year’s launch, and got back into blogging!

It’s not as impressive as those who can write half a book in the same time-frame, but I’m not trying to race anyone but myself. And a combined word count of about 20,000 words is pretty good for me.

What ways do you keep yourself motivated? Any unique tricks you’ve found that does the trick? I’d love to hear them.

Until next time, Happy Writing!

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