When we know why we want what we want, follow-through becomes a priority. We elevate our writing motivation.
Resolutions, goal setting, planning. They’re all great, useful tools, but unless we follow through, unless we stick to our resolution, act on our goals, and truly do.what we put in our planner or what we plan to do, they are pretty tools collecting dust in our tool-box.
And lets face it, we tend to give up on our resolutions, reject our goals, and ignore our plans if not right away, then fairly soon after. Because they aren’t realistic, achievable, they are too much work, life gets in the way, and more.
We forget that we made those resolutions, goals and plans because they will get us something we want, they represent what we love.
They also challenge us.
And it is a lot easier to do what is, well, easy, rather than step out of our comfort zone and push ourselves and take action, so we fall back into our autopilot routines.
I don’t want that for us, not just in a new year, or after a birthday marker, but ever.
Today, tomorrow, years from now, I want us–you and me–to be actively going after what we want.
It will feel a whole lot better in the end, than living our lives on autopilot.
This is Part 2 of a four-past series that will take us, one step at a time, out of autopilot, and ready to embrace the pursuit of goals and follow-through of plans. If you haven’t yet read it, you can find Part 1: What do you want? Here.
Part 2: Why do you want it?
In Part 1, you determined what you want as it pertains to your writing. Now it is time to decide why you want it.
I find it helps to know why I want to write each project. If I’m going to spend a week or month or year on a story, I need more reason for doing it other than publishing it. I also want to ensure that I am growing as a writer. I have a free resource that helps with that process and walks you through the personal and professional reasons for writing each project.
In that motivation guide, one of the questions I ask you to consider, is why you write. I believe that the more reasons you have to write, the stronger and broader a foundation you have which will support you in your goals.
However, when I asked you to decide what you wanted in Part 1, I asked you to think bigger. Think beyond writing one novel, or publishing a couple of books this year. What do you want your writing life to look like?
Whatever you decided, now I want you to ask yourself why you want it. A lot of reasons behind why you want it is good but not necessary. The important thing to remember is that whatever your reason, whatever your why, it needs to be important enough to push you to write and reach your goal.
The Satisfaction Equation and writing motivation
To know if our why is enough, we need to consider the satisfaction equation.
The formula is this:
D x V x FS > RC
D is the experienced dissatisfaction with the current state/situation;
V is a vision of a desired future state, of what is possible;
FS is the clarity and feasibility of the first steps toward that vision.
The product of all three must be greater than the current resistance to change (RC) for us to take that chance.
For our purposes, let me break it down like this:
Our resistance to change (RC) is our lack of motivation to write. It is our procrastination, our Inner Saboteur creating the self-doubt that actually achieving our goal is impossible, it is not feeling like writing, or not writing because we want it to be more fun than it is. Our resistance to change is us being on autopilot, doing what is easy, rather than pushing ourselves to achieve more, even though what we want is more than where we are right now.
Our vision (V), then, is what we want. After part 1, I hope that what you want is something that excites you, it makes you want to at least believe you could challenge yourself, be motivated enough to go for it. If not, go back to part 1 and re-think what you want.
Our dissatisfaction (D) is our why, the reason achieving our goal is important to us.
We will talk about our clarity and feasibility in parts 3 and 4 of this series.
Priorities and Writing Motivation
So let’s get down to it. Why do you want what you want? Is your why, your reason, enough to make your writing a priority? Is it enough to give you writing motivation.
For example, I want to be a best-selling author. Specifically, I want to be a New York Times Bestseller. Now, practically speaking, whether it is the New York Times, or Amazon, or some other bestseller list, it doesn’t really matter as long as that list means I’m a bestseller beyond my local bookstore. But for my vision board, I’ve stated that I want to be a New York Times Bestseller.
Why do I want to be a New York Times Bestseller? Why is reaching that status important to me?
It means my books, my words, have reached a lot of people. I have had an impact on readers. It is the ultimate signifier of legitimacy.
Why is legitimacy, acceptance, and a broad reach important to me?
I fell in love with stories and writing because I discovered that the words I wrote had meaning and could make a difference to people. As someone who cares a lot about people and social justice, writing is my best means of communicating and reaching people.
Growing up, I was one of the bullied and excluded. While I don’t have to be loved by everyone, acceptance in my chosen field as a writer, is something I will always strive for. There are, of course, many levels of acceptance and success along the way to becoming a New York Times Bestseller. That’s why I say it is the ultimate signifier.
Is that enough to get me off autopilot of doing what is easy? Is it enough to elevate my writing motivation?
Mostly. But there’s more to it. I know that reaching that goal and all the work I put in toward it, will also help me reach other goals, both writing related and non-writing related. I know that writing regularly and growing as a writer will help me in my coaching business. In striving for bestsellerdom, I’ve gained clarity in the writing/publishing path I want to take. It gives me added structure to my day.
And like everything I do, I do it for Ebby. What? Yeah. Actively pursuing my writing goals makes me a happier, better person, which makes me a better dog-mom.
In Part 1 you decided what you want. Now it is time to determine why you want it. Why is reaching that goal important to you? Is your why strong enough to motivate you? To get you out of autopilot?
If it isn’t, go back to what you want. Make it bigger. Make it more specific. Then come back and decide why, really truly why, you want it.
When your goal is desirable enough, and the reason why you want it is strong enough, taking action is more attractive, more appealing, inviting, more comfortable, than not taking action. It elevates your motivation to write.
Next week, we’re going to take the next step and determine how we are going to take our goals from possibility to actuality.
Until next time…