Staying Motivated vs. Settling

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Finding time to write can be a real bitch sometimes. I work full-time (and we’re getting into the busy season at my job), I have a husband whom I like to spend time with, friends whom I’d like to see, family who would like me to check in so they know I’m not dead, and dogs that require playtime and cuddles.

“Please love me.”

Somewhere in everything I have to do, I also have to try and find time to write. It’s not easy–there are only so many hours in the day and my body eventually demands food and sleep (ugh, needy body). I’ve dozed off at my computer more times than I can count because I try and push myself to write for just a little longer and then I wake up to find I have typed seventeen pages of “ggggggggggggggggg.”

Sometimes I think it’d be much easier if I gave up writing and pursued something else, something with a much easier path. Because writing is hard. You sit down, pour your heart and soul into your work, and then hope someone likes it enough to publish it. Then, if it gets published, you have to hope that enough people like the work you’ve bled onto the page to buy it so that you can MAYBE make some money off of it. Because as long as you’re not making money (or at least not making much), you probably need to supplement with some other income which pulls your time and energy away from writing which can leave you feeling burnt out and exhausted with limited motivation to write.

 

This is me about 90% of the time. 

While I’m obviously talking about writing because that’s what I want to do with my life, I feel like this is applicable to anyone with a passion project. Artists, photographers, filmmakers, people with dreams of owning their own businesses–I feel like so many of us are in the same boat. We know what we want to do but we get caught up in the minutiae of day-to-day obligations. And that’s not to downplay our everyday obligations–I know I like having somewhere to live and food in our fridge (even if I forget to eat it).

Oh, right . . . food.

So what do we do? I’m certainly not at all suggesting that we give up on what we love just because it’s hard. But we need to find ways to keep ourselves motivated and we need to realize that if we want this, then it needs to be a priority. My writing mentor once told me that he writes at least one sentence of fiction every day. Oftentimes he writes more but he pushes himself to write at least one sentence because it helps him keep himself motivated and it keeps him going. I think this is a brilliant plan because they day you stop working towards what you want is the day you give up and end up feeling stuck. And that’s no way to live because before you’ll know it, years will have gone by and you’ll be telling people, “Oh, I wanted to do that once but it was too hard so I settled for less than I’m worth.”
If you want something for yourself, it’s worth fighting for. Is it hard? Of course. Are you guaranteed success? Of course not. But at least you’re putting yourself out there which is more than a lot of people can say.
____________________
Written by: Emily Regan

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