Motivational Misdirection

Brains are so weird…


I’ve spent months trying to ‘get back into a proper routine’ and get my fifth novel back on my list to work on. I’ve made so many plans to go to the cafe and ‘really focus’, to alternate client and personal projects in my schedule, to keep working on stuff until my 16:30 meditation class, to push myself to make progress. And none of it has worked.


I joined a Habitica challenge to identify the smallest step of a long-term project and celebrate success every time I achieved that. And I did manage to do very small amounts on the novel for a few weeks – but that never progressed into more.


So, I decided it was time to just let it all go and give myself permission to NOT work on the novel for the rest of the year. At the same time, I thought about cancelling my Headspace meditation subscription and also my gym membership, because I wasn’t really engaging with either, so why keep paying for them?


And, the next week, I used Headspace to meditate, I went to the gym, and I made significant progress on both my third novel (revising my submission package and identifying several more agents to query in the new year) and my nonfiction book (revising the whole manuscript and submitting it to four agents).


Ah, but, I hear you say – where is the fifth novel in that?


And yes, I didn’t actually get around to working on the fifth novel – BUT I made a clear plan to collate the rest of the existing notes into a digital format before the end of the year, with a view to re-committing to producing new material in January.


Goal-setting season is fast approaching and I decided I want to be in a position to make bold decisions about what I want to achieve in 2023, which would mean clearing the entire backlog of existing work, so I can start fresh and get motivated again.


I’ve applied for an accountability programme that I hope will give me a chance to connect with other creatives in a similar position, so we can encourage each other. And I’ve been enthusiastic about resurrecting Revision Club sessions on Tuesdays, so I have a weekly session dedicated to the novel, with other people around to help keep me on track.


I don’t know what January will hold – apart from multiple workshops about creative plans and lots of really good intentions – but I’m now very clear on where I want to be when it arrives, and I’ve already re-established good routines in multiple areas, so I can make that commitment easier to fulfil.


And all it needed was for me to give myself the option of giving up…


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