So, you have set up some amazing goals and carefully listened to Kait’s advice to make them sustainable and measurable. Perhaps for the first week, maybe longer, maybe not so long, you found you were going well. You were excited about what you were writing and what you were achieving and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. Ah, how well we all know that feeling. Like starting a new exercise program, or diet, or even trying to become a domestic goddess. However, we also all know that it fades much sooner than you think it should. Sometimes within a day or two your motivation is gone, and then what are you left with?
So, today I’m not going to sugar coat things for you, not going tell you that everything can always be sunshine and puppies. Instead, I’m going to deal with the nitty gritty of writing, what you are left with after enthusiasm has walked out on you: Will Power. When motivation and inspiration abandon you, and no matter how much tempting and teasing you do they won’t come back, all you have left is plain old will power. So you had better treat it right.
But, you cry, my will power deserts me as well! I have accidentally breathed in a whole block of chocolate and mainlined five episodes of Glee instead of writing!
Well, that’s easy to fix.
Will power doesn’t need tempting or teasing, but it does need some common sense steps on your part to make the most of it. Follow these guidelines and you will find your ability to just sit down and write increase to the point where you might even think you have your motivation back.
There are three things that drain away will power faster than anything else: Hunger, Stress and Sleep Deprivation.
Remember how your mother told you never to go shopping when you’re hungry? Why? Because you have no will power when you are hungry and will say yes to everything that takes your fancy. Yes, it is stronger with food, but trying to make yourself do anything when you are hungry is an uphill battle. Therefore, save yourself the angst and make sure you have eaten something filling and nutritious before sitting down to write.
Second is stress. Have you ever had to apologize for snapping at someone with the excuse, ‘I’m sorry, I’m just a bit stressed at the moment?’ Long-term stress kills will power. Therefore, if you want to be an effective writer then you need to look at all the different stresses in your life and see which ones you can reduce. Throw in a bit of time for meditation and relaxation, a few good, deep breaths, and you will find that reaching your goals is a whole lot easier.
The final one is sleep deprivation. By now we should all know that it is bad for us not to get enough sleep. Your body becomes cantankerous, your concentration goes, you put on weight and crave bizarre things, and can’t say no to chocolate if your life depended on it. Then of course it is also going to be affecting your ability to write. If you do manage to resist the temptation just to flop in front of the TV, you will find your mind wanders from your writing, and sometimes leaves completely.
Therefore, do all your other goals a favor and add these three into the mix: I will eat a banana (or healthy food of choice) before starting to write. I will take 10 minutes a day to practice relaxation and meditation, and I will go to bed early every week night.
After that there are more things you can do to increase your will power, such as temptation proofing your life, but get these three under control, and you will be making leaps and bounds in your goal achievement.