If motivation were a drug I’d be mainlining

I DIDN’T START 2018 with a lot of expectations, based on the last two

Yes. I lost my house. Yes, I’m mad. It’s time to move on.

years and you know, Idiot in Chief is still on his Golden Toilet. But this malaise is lingering, and every time he opens his mouth or metacarpals this thumbs, I feel like I die a little inside.

Time to get proactive. Yes, I’ve been writing my so-called representatives every day. It’s a disillusioning fact that we live in a time an place that we have to protest every single day.

But I’ve let it (and the dissolution of not only my marriage, but also the life I led and what hurts me the most–my home), eat into the things I should be doing, need to be doing, and I’m working on getting my act together. Get motivated. Move forward. As the Colonel used to say, “Press on.”

It’s easy to get sidetracked with all the static bombarding us on a daily basis. And while it’s important to keep up the resistance, it’s time for me to look inward. I’m letting it all get to me–and the *all* are things I have no direct control. To that end, I’ve turned to my love-hate relationship with my Daily To Do List:

1. Force myself to Do The Things

Not All The Things. I’m prioritizing All the Things and knocking off at least three a day. Inertia breeds inertia. I know we’re tired, but once I get the wheel rolling, it becomes a little easier. Forward motion does the same thing. I perpetuates itself. The initial push is the most difficult, but the endgame is worth it.

2. Seek inspiration — every day.

I think back to when I wrote my first book. I had an idea, I studied the path to publication, hung out with people who’d successfully forged the path before me and paid attention.

If you have lost motivation with work, see if you can do more challenging tasks. Read articles and watch videos that inspire your creative spark. Meet new people. Go to events.

3. Focus on the End Game

Yes, I’m a world-class procrastinator. But I’ve started something new. When I reach a place in my Work in Progress that needs research, I key in XXX. When I get to the revision stage, I do a search on those letters and research accordingly. The goal is not just to get finished. It goes back to what we think about our purpose in life.

4. Track my goals weekly

Tracking my goals is crucial, but checking them every hour is like revising the same page until I think I’ve got it right. Or as right as it can be.

5. Set a reward for attaining each short-term goal

A friend once mused that writers are probably the only profession where we reward ourselves for a day we met goals–the last cookie, a glass of wine, a romp with the dog. She commented that attorneys probably don’t do that. But who says they don’t?

Probably a cookie or a glass of wine will not lead to particularly healthy habits. Romping with the dog? Totally a habit worth picking up. I’m going to choose healthy rewards–things I often feel I don’t deserve or are a waste of time. While a material reward like the last cookie or a glass of wine can be good treat. they are temporary. An inner reward feels better and is more sustainable. Instead of a cookie, think about how it feels when your editor calls you bawling her eyes out over a scene I cried over while writing.

6. Find someone–or someones–to hold me accountable. And return the favor

I used to belong to a writers group who cheered each other on, and held us all accountable. Distance and circumstance, and to be honest, I’ve let procrastination and malaise, have thwarted my goals. Being accountable to others infuses responsibility. Doing the same for others is my reward.

7. Let go of anger

This one is the hardest for me. I’m clinging to my house and the *things* I need. Like my coats, my sweaters, my winter-worthy boots. My enormous Jacuzzi bathtub where I used to soak and do revisions. I have no control over that loss. I need to move on . . .

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