There are thousands of ways writers find and keep motivation. Looking at pictures, using writing prompts, talking with other writers, listening to music, outlining, storyboarding, reading… the list goes on and on. There’s nothing wrong with any one way of keeping yourself motivation. It’s pretty much what ever works the best for you. However! There is one way that I find works extremely well: goal setting. It’s probably the education grad in me but I find that this is what works best for me.
How Can You Use a Goal for Motivation?
Goals keep us on task and working towards something. A good goal is not only a long term goal but several short and mid term goals that act as stepping stones. A good goal is measurable, meaning that you can see your progress as you go. Personally, there is nothing more satisfying than watching your goal creep closer and closer. It’s a mental thing. It’s easier to move forward when you can see just how close you are to achieving something. Also, when you start to feel like you’re stuck or going no where fast it can be reassuring to look back on what you have done! Almost like breathing a sigh of relief and telling yourself you aren’t going in circles.
Alright! Hold on!
Before people start yelling about how setting a goal is the most BASIC of fundamentals for writing, let me ask you if you’ve written your goals down? Have you shared your goals with anyone? Have you found an accountability partner? Remember! It’s easy to feel the fires of determination at the very start. It’s the new year, full of possibilities and anything can happen. If you look ahead three weeks, a month, two months even it might be harder to feel that same burning determination. In all honesty, it will probably feel more like that uncomfortable feeling of sitting too close to a bonfire.
However, if you write down your goal and keep it some place you’re going to look at it frequently it will help you stay focused. If you go the extra step and tell people about your goal, especially if it’s another writer friend, the chances are that the act of sharing your goal will kick your motivation in the butt and potentially give it the kickstart you’re looking for. Even better! Talk to that writer friend, or two, and see if you can convince them to go in on setting a goal with you. Meet up, virtually or in person, on a weekly or biweekly basis to compare progress. Check in with each other and see how they’re on track. It’s always easier to stay motivated and on task when you know you aren’t alone in your journey.
A goal doesn’t have to be huge, say getting a novel or two published. I mean, it can be but it isn’t absolutely necessary. Sometimes a goal is as simple as writing 500,000 words in a year or just finishing your current project. That’s fine. Totally fine. So long as you have one that’s the most important thing. What sort of goals are you hoping to achieve this year? Feel free to share in the comments!