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Monday, April 16, 2007


Last week, my coaching group brought up the topic of motivation in our forum and I thought it would make a good post for today.

I don’t have any trouble staying motivated, and subsist well on minimal encouragement. As a matter of fact, I usually do better when my peers shame me into accomplishing more. (Guilt does wonders for me. Gotta be the Catholic upbringing.)

These are the things I do that keeps me on track.

• Break your goals down into manageable bites.
Don’t worry about landing an agent. Work on creating the best query he’ll ever see. Little steps.

• Have a game plan on how you want your accomplishments to happen.
I always have the big picture in my mind. Then it’s just a matter of assigning all the little goals to get me to the big goal.

• Stay positive.
A dozen helpful friends may give you a shoulder to cry on but you can’t take them home with you. Learn to count on yourself. A good attitude is everything.

• Have multiple interests.
It’s like the stock market. You don’t want all your money in one stock. Diversify. Writing may not be the end-all you think it is. It could be just a stepping stone.

• Be proactive.
Expand your horizons. Don’t stay in the same group just because it’s comfy. There’re tons of resources to help you in your writing career. And you meet the nicest people too.

• Be accountable.
Blaming everyone and everything for the things that go wrong with your writing career is a cop-out. Take charge of your future.

Nurture your relationships, especially with people who are honest with you.
Truth hurts, but so does rejection. I’d rather have practical advice from a trusted peer than a form letter from an agent.

• Make small successes your inspiration.
Every time I sell an article, every time I post a helpful blog, every time I get a paycheck, it’s one small success that assures me I’m headed in the right direction.

• Know what works for you.
I happen to know guilt works really well for me. So does friendly competition. But everyone is different. Know yourself and you’ll know your personal motivators.

So what’s your motivator? What makes you go back to that keyboard day after day?


Maya Reynolds said...

Excellent post, Maria.

What motivates me depends on the project. What motivates me to clean my house is the prospect of company. What motivates me to write it my passion for it. I can't not do it. Sometimes during conversations with friends, I'll find my attention wandering to my WIP. I have to drag my attention back because it's not the time or the place, and I love my friends.

It's all in the importance we attach to the subject.

Maria Zannini said...

Maya said: I have to drag my attention back because it's not the time or the place...

It's even harder when I'm at work. :o) Creating is a lot more fun than crunching dry stats.

Mike Keyton said...

What motivates me is fear of not doing it. It's painful falling off a whirling 'round-a-bout'and hard to get back on. What motivates me is time. There's never enough of it.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike said: What motivates me is time.
I find time to be a real burr in my tuckus. 20 years ago I had all the time in the world, but now...I waste nothing.