Just about now, with the holidays barreling down on us like a run-away freight train, I thought encouraging you to take time to regain some perspective might be useful. So, here are some thoughts on the subject of staying motivated instead of exhausted.
While most of us have to write to maintain some sort of balance and sanity in our minds, there are times when that passion wanes. In the face of chaotic and demanding work weeks, Billy and Susie’s sports, holiday and social commitments, an ailing parent or spouse, and the grumbling, screeching death of the primary family vehicle, we just give up.
As a matter of fact, that’s tip number one.
1. The saying goes something like “what we resist, persists.” And I’ve found that to be pretty much true. More power in just acknowledging what’s real, looking it in the eye, and embracing the entire breakdown in your plans. Just set a limit on it. Like mourning a rejection for something you’ve written, allow yourself 24-48 hours to get it. Feel bad. Eat ice cream. Have a candy bar. Cry if that works for you. Go to a movie. Write your sorrows on a piece of paper, tear it into a thousand pieces and throw them away. Bury them in the garden. Burn the paper in your fireplace. Whatever you need to do to capture and let go of what’s eating at you. Just do it in that timeframe.
2. Go to the Dollar Store and buy yourself a small pad and a new pen, for under $5.00. Carry it with you. Write down two things every day for a week that made you smile. Next to those things, write, THANK YOU. You’ll probably note more things and do it for longer periods of time. Two is the minimum.
3. Smile at everyone you see during the day. Even if you don’t feel like it. I don’t mean grin like the Cheshire cat, but rather, look them in the eye and flash them a smile. You know the one I mean. The one that says, “I’m okay, you’re okay.”
4. Commit one anonymous random act of kindness every day. That might be picking up a piece of litter on the ground near the spot you parked your car, or it could be buying a soldier a cup of coffee. Might be putting an extra buck in the tip jar or donating something to someone in need. Doesn’t matter what the act is. Just do one. And do it anonymously.
5. Read something inspirational for at least five minutes every day. Think you don’t have five minutes? Inspirational materials in my house reside in the bathrooms. I maintain that this is not multitasking since only one of these tasks requires engaging one’s conscious brain.
6. Stop Multitasking. Do one thing at a time and pay attention to all that it takes to do that one thing. There are probably a million accredited performance studies that support the theory we are far healthier and productive by focusing on one task at a time. Buy a kitchen timer and use it to help you stay conscious of what you’re doing.
7. Watch at least one movie a month. Go out to the theatres or watch one at home, but set aside one night that’s earmarked to do this. Writers and movies go perfect together. Got a busy family? I’m telling you, put it on the calendar that occupies your refrigerator door and do it. Get the family or friends together, make some popcorn, put your feet up and turn off the rest of the world for two hours.
8. Get enough sleep. There is no substitute. Getting the sleep your body needs is critical for brain function, energy, supporting your immune system, and your sense of humor.
9. Get some exercise just for you. Do laps around the dining room table, or take a walk on the beach with the dog. Doesn’t matter. It all counts. The boost to your endorphins and all their little brain-chemical buddies is super valuable.
10. Resume writing for a minimum of ten minutes a day. Write on your little pocket pad or your computer. Make it a habit. Before long, the muse will peak around from behind the dumpster and make you laugh. If you write it, the muse will come.
Preacher/author John Henry Jowett (1864-1923) said, “Gratitude is a vaccine, antitoxin, and an antiseptic.”
Put gratitude in your attitude and I promise you’ll be motivated to write again in no time!!