I’m not sure what’s going on in 2019, but we’re 11 days into the year and I’ve been werking – with the e, not the o. Werk is the type you do that’s hard but fun and feels a little fabulous. It shouldn’t be confused with the work you do that’s not all that fun but pays the bills. I just made this up but it sounds good.
Anyway, I’ve started and almost finished several blog posts, I’ve written a few thousand words in my novel, I’ve submitted a piece to another outlet for publication, and I’ve kept up at my job job (work, not werk). For whatever reason, I’ve felt fired up about pursuing the things I’ve been saying I want for years. My dreams are palpable. Frfr, I can taste them. Tastes like raspberries. Mmm mmm good. I’m in the zone like a mug. If you ain’t talking about my vision, you essentially ain’t talking to me.
Ok now juxtapose this influx of energy with my inclination to Netflix and chill my life away. I also have a thing for surfing Instagram for hours on end. When I end up on your mom’s sister’s best friend’s niece’s page, I know I’ve gotten away from myself. I can also do things like spend two hours learning how to be a better writer and then another two hours planning out my responses to Oprah when she interviews me about the bestselling book I’ve dreamed of writing. If you’re keeping up, that’s approximately one week of doing several things and zero hours of actually doing anything. You see my problem? The thing about pursuing goals is that the pursuit takes work. It takes getting in the trenches. For an aspiring author, it takes working through writer’s block, trying to be funny without being cheesy, fixing holes in your plot, learning how to develop a character without turning her into a cliché, and convincing yourself your ideas are not trash . . . unless they are trash in which case you have to delete those ideas and convince yourself to start over.
I love writing but it’s not always fun. And I suspect you have a dream that maybe isn’t always fun either. Which is funny because all the successful people doing it make it look like so much fun all the time! Ain’t nobody said nothing about the work involved in the werk. Yet, it must be done.
So, I’ve come up with a few tricks to help out when I know I need to make progress toward a goal but don’t exactly feel like being bothered. Let me know if any of these are helpful.
- Block off the time on my calendar
There’s something about putting a task on my calendar that gives it the kind of gravity and priority I need to get it done. When I see it written down at a certain time and I make the proper arrangements to keep from being interrupted, I feel like it’s a thing that I need to take care of in the moment. It’s important. It’s a priority. I need to do it and it needs to be done now. On the right days, it’s enough to motivate me.
- Create small goals from a big goal
This has been especially helpful lately. I have a big goal of finishing my book. The thought of that makes me run for cover. It’s too big. So, I initially created a writing schedule to break my big goal into palatable chunks. That’s actually not something that works for me but I did commit to writing a certain amount of words each week. I can get it in whenever and however. I can write ten words at midnight and five hundred words at noon. This helps me to break things down and it’s flexible enough that I can typically meet my goal each week.
- Find others who will hold you accountable
When someone asks me why I haven’t updated my blog, I feel like I’ve personally offended her. I hate the feeling which means that I would do more if someone were on me to do more. So, I recently joined a group that I hope will help with this and I’ve put out some feelers to start a writing group. You might want to do something different like take a class. Teachers can be great accountability partners. You can join a group with people who have similar interests. They’ll keep you honest. Tell your mom to call you once a week. She’ll get you right. Moms have a way of kicking you into high gear.
- Reward myself for putting in the time
If I’ve had a really great week or even just a really great day, I reward myself with something I enjoy. I spend the evening annoying my husband or I watch a silly movie. It makes me feel accomplished and it also gives me a mental break so that I’m prepared to come back strong.
- Watch or listen to something inspirational
Sometimes I’m just not with the program or maybe in a funk. It’s so much easier to be complacent than it is to stay hungry. I find that watching or listening to something inspirational helps a lot. It gets you fired up. I like Ted Talks, sermons, graduation speeches, or interviews with people I admire.
Whatever you do, don’t give up in 2019. Even when the frenzy of the new year dies down and you’re in September wondering why it’s still so hot. Don’t stop. Hack your life with these tips or find ones that work for you. You’ll be glad you did.
I’ll check back in at the end of the year and let y’all know what happened. If you see me and Oprah chit chatting, you’ll already know.