Motivation in writing and San Diego

Happy Monday. What do you have planned this week? I am working on final edits for Third Strike’s the Charm and once that’s done, I’m going back to my special project. I won’t have it completed for NaNo, but at least I wrote 30,000 words!

Do you find you have to juggle goals based on other demands or simply motivation? What about creative goals? Do you fight it if the excitement isn’t there?

I have found that if I don’t want to work on a project, it’s often okay if I don’t because everything always gets done. I prefer to be in the flow and allow my inner rhythm to guide me when I’m writing. I’m inherently goal oriented, so I’m able to work that way. Even when I had a day job, I could work on things when I felt like working on them. There’s a distinction, though. I actually enjoy some of the more tedious work, it’s the creative work that is more difficult, and I prefer to do that when I’m inspired and excited. So I would work on all the routine stuff when I wasn’t inspired and work on the really hard stuff when I was. However, just like with writing fiction, when there was a deadline, I had to push myself, and it could be very unpleasant, working all night and racing against time. I don’t work all night now, but I used to have to do that a lot when I was a technical writer. When I was a project manager at the end of that career, I didn’t have my own “deliverables” and so didn’t have to pull all-nighters.

There are times when I have to push myself to get a story done. In fact, right now, I’m floating along on a magic carpet, feeling happy and light, but I have to remind myself of the intense stress and hard work I had to go through to get Third Strike’s the Charm written and submitted on time. So many times I didn’t think I was going to pull it off. So many times I pushed myself to work every waking hour. I didn’t want to let down my critique partners, especially one of them, who had put in a huge amount of work to help me after she told me the first draft didn’t work as it was. (She was right.)

I also didn’t want to let down my husband. I told him this after I had completed the book. He said I wouldn’t have let him down and not to ever worry about that. But I probably still will worry about that too.

Wow, in writing this post, I’m realizing again that what motivates me is other people. That was true at my day job too. Not wanting to let people down is what spurs me to work extraordinarily hard. Otherwise, I float along on my magic carpet, dreaming and enjoying, until I really have to land back down there on earth and perform or somebody is going to be disappointed.

My preference is to get things done because I want to get them done and to experience mostly joy along the way. I think the key for that is not having too many external deadlines. I still have to find that balance of learning to push myself hard when the going is not easy. That is a matter of holding myself to my own deadline and not letting myself down. I look forward to learning this new ability to push myself out of choice.

What motivates you to perform at your peak?

Here are some photos from San Diego. I took this first one at the end of my photo shoot. This surfer stood here for a long time, just looking at the sunset. I love how he reveled in the moment, how he appreciated the natural beauty. This man inspired me so much more than all the people who stare at their phones, including me. (I’m trying to break that habit.)

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Surfer at Scripps Pier La Jolla
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Church of Latter Day Saints temple in La Jolla
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Me…dreaming
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University City San Diego

And here is a gallery for you. PS I’m saving my best photo for my monthly newsletter, which goes out tonight. So if you’re not already signed up, just click on the link above (monthly newsletter). That will take you to the form. I’d love to have you as a subscriber. You’ll get a recipe and be entered in a giveaway each month, plus see a unique piece of art in medium resolution.