Monday, 18 June 2018
The Trials Of An Indie Author: Keeping Yourself Motivated
THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: KEEPING YOURSELF MOTIVATED
As someone who does a lot of writing, gets books finished and all that jazz, people are always asking me both about my inspiration and where my motivation comes from. A lot of the time they're asking because they think that somehow I have the answers and secrets to the universe, which I really don't. On top of that, I get a lot of people saying that because I manage to do all of this while also being chronically ill and disabled, that I must have extra super secret intel on how to hack their own lives. I'm gonna shock you all by telling you how I stay motivated and how I managed to get all that I do done.
I work hard.
That's it. That's the answer that no one wants and everyone assumes is secretly a code for something else. Nope, sorry it's not a code and there is no secret to how I manage to do what I do. I do want to point out a few things. One, I have been an author for over a decade. Two, I don't have any other commitments. I don't work another job and my life is basically about the pages, words and chapters. Three, everyone has a different writing speed and that is more than okay. Mine is fast, and that's not because I rush and/or skip steps, but just because that's the way I work. Four, I didn't always work fast. It took a lot of trial and error to get to where I am now and working at the productiveness I do at the moment. Five, I am not, in any way, saying that those who don't work to my speed are not working hard. They are. Everyone is different, and that's okay. I do me, you do you and we'll all be very happy about it.
So you want to know what tools I use to help me stay motivated and on target? I've done a couple of vlogs about this on my youtube channel, which I'm sure you'll have seen. I stay motivated because it's what I want to be doing with my time. I stay on target because that's how I push myself. That said, there are some days, weeks, months, when everything gets thrown out of the window because a) chronically ill, b) disabled and c) we all need a break at some point. And that's okay.
I am a highly organised person. I have lists and colour-coded sticky notes on my desktop that tell me what I should be doing and when. If I suddenly found myself without those, I'm not sure I could continue to go at the speed that I do. Quite simply, they are my secret weapon. And they're not even really that secret. In a few weeks, I plan to start doing bi-monthly goals on my youtube channel. I've never done them publicly before simply because I had a way of tracking my goals and it worked for me, but then I realised that a lot of people were asking me what those goals were. Before I would write down everything that needed to be achieved in a month and put it on a private blog where I would then cross it off every month. I started doing that a good few years ago and let me tell you it helped.
It started off as a weekly goal list. I would, in the beginning, find it easy to strike things off. I got sicker and it because a bi-weekly goal list. That worked for a while as well. And then I got, you guessed it, sicker and it became a monthly goal list and while it worked for a while I realised that there were some months when I would write one chapter, if that, and I really, really, hated that. During the tail end of that, I was still studying for my degree so obviously, that took priority. But then the degree was done and I was still struggling to tick off one chapter.
The realisation came to me in November 2015 when I decided for, the first time ever, to do NaNoWriMo. I had never managed to write 50K in one month. Books took me years to finish and that was fine. I was writing two at the same time and that worked for me (and still does). However I wanted to set my own goal for NaNo and that was to write at least one whole page a day. Strangely enough, it worked. I didn't get anywhere near 50K but I did manage to restart my writing. From there, you all know the story, I decided to carry that lesson on and started the hashtag #JoWriMoGo - which simply stands for Joey's Writing Monthly Goal. I started it in December of 2015 and I've not looked back since.
It used to be the case where I would set myself a monthly goal of four chapters in total, with another four considered bonus ones. Once I leapt on the #JoWriMoGo train I couldn't stop. I was writing ten, fifteen, twenty chapters a month. I finished books in a quarter of the time it took me before. That's when I realised sticky notes could help me stay on track. And they have. I now set myself one writing thing to do a day and I stick to it. I work in blocks of four - two chapters of each book - and then have a free day that'll be used to record vlogs or write blog posts. The most I ever wrote in one month was 28 chapters, but now? I usually get through 24 a month.
My point isn't that look at all that I do, but that I work hard to achieve what I do. As does pretty much any other writer. We all work hard and we all have to stay motivated. I do that by setting goals that are realistic and manageable for me. I give myself full days when I will do absolutely nothing, and I make sure I take them. As of writing this, it's been two years and a bit since I started the page a day challenge and I don't see myself stopping any time soon. That's my secret, I found the way to keep myself focused and on track and basically what I'm saying is, you need to find what works for you. Everyone is different and that's more than okay.
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