Stay Motivated by Sticking with Your Goals and Focusing Your Attention
There are some mornings when I wake up completely inspired and motivated to write. Maybe I’ve had a dream about something I’ve been mulling around in my head, or I’ve read something that is truly inspirational and it propels me forward, or a writing prompt encourages my efforts. There are other days though, when I’m unclear about my direction, and in spite of having a deadline; I’m at a loss for words. It’s not like I have writers block or am stymied by the dreaded white page—that’s what occurs when you have an idea but just can’t seem to develop the content. What I’m talking about is lack of clarity and purpose, which is what happens when we lose sight of our goals, and consequently forget about the carefully crafted path we’ve developed to achieve them.
Recently, I’ve decided to shift my focus a bit. Instead of continuing to make a book I’ve been collaborating on for almost two years a priority, I’ve turned my attention back to my own work and to that of coaching others who want to write or who need help getting the word out about their services. I have a novel I’d like to complete, writing workshops I like to teach (and therefore need to promote), and I have a Super Simple Social Media Marketing concept I’m excited to share. There is also the writing I do for clients (articles, blogs, newsletters, even grant writing). Essentially, my day is filled with writing and promotion—at least it should be.
Because, my nature is taking on too much at once, over the years, I’ve developed a method to help me focus my attention. I’m sharing it here because you might want to come up with something similar. As my grandmother used to say, “Who knows, it might help!” If it does, please let me know.
I begin by making a list of my goals followed by how I’m going to achieve them, and why each is important to me. The how becomes my daily action plan, and the why is what keeps me motivated. It’s a simple list with ongoing activities that primarily revolve around my blog posts. The mere act of making a list like the one below not only sets my intention, but it’s also a tool for focusing my efforts.
- Continue building a platform as a writer—blog, post, tweet (This will help find a publisher for Cooking Up a Plan: Turn Your Novel Idea Into a Book)
- Promote my writing services—attend writing Meetups, groups and events, write and send marketing emails, write and distribute quarterly MailChimp newsletter (A lot of people are overwhelmed by having to write and I can easily help them)
- Promote my books—volunteer to speak about writing, blog, post, tweet (My most recent book, Flex Your Writing Muscle: 365 Writing Prompts is guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing and also help people learn more about themselves)
- Promote my Write YOUR Story and Free Yourself to Write workshops—set a date and location, distribute flyers, promote on Facebook and LinkedIn. (We all have important stories to tell and my makes it easy for everyone—even people who don’t usually write)
- Promote myself as a writing/marketing/PR coach—attend Meetups, groups and events, write and send marketing emails, write and distribute quarterly MailChimp newsletter. (I always feel better when I’m helping others)
Jan Fishler is the producer of the Path to Publication DVD series filmed at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers featuring Amy Tan, Janet Fitch, Mark Childress and other well-known authors, agents, and publishers. She is the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir) and Flex Your Writing Muscle – 365 Days of Writing Prompts. She writes articles for VietNow National Magazine and has a bi-monthly column, “Healthy Options” in The Union newspaper.