Getting That Horse Badge, Finally
I’m so proud of myself. As my faithful readers know, I’ve been trying and failing since July to achieve a full month of consistent journalling on 750words.com.
So what was different this time? I think it was partly because I set myself up with my own personal NaNoWriMo. In case you aren’t familiar with that particular craziness, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and participants pledge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, starting at midnight on October 31st and ending at midnight on November 30th. Some succeed, many fail, but it is always worth doing.
So I’m not into writing novels, but I decided to take advantage of the buzz in my house (both of my boys attempted it this year) and talk myself into some consistency. I would write at least 750 words every day.
My downfall in the past has been forgetting to do my writing early enough in the day – I would remember around 11:45 pm and it would just not be enough time to get it done. I did have one of those close calls this month – it was 11:30 and I did make it, with pounding gibberish on my phone like a madwoman. It took 18 minutes, my right wrist hurt like hell when I was done, but I made it. After that, I made sure never to have it go that late again, or at least to have my laptop available (where it would only take 9 minutes).
This arbitrary achievement has really got me thinking about motivation and how that works. That horse badge is cute, but I wasn’t doing it for that. After all, I continued to journal every day of July after I fell out of the running (and then completely fell off the wagon in August, September and October).
Of course, whenever I think about writing, achievement and motivation, the inimitable Steven Pressfield comes to mind. Not only because of his classic book The War of Art and its description of the Resistance (or, as I prefer to call it, the Lizard Brain), but more recent books such as Do the Work and Turning Pro, both of which encourage readers to reach deep inside themselves to create their art and share it with the world.
There are so many talented people out there, and it is easy to get discouraged and give up, to accept that nobody is interested in what we have to say. Consistency is hard to achieve if you don’t have faith in your own abilities. Sometimes a silly little horse badge is what we need to help us get over that hump, to go out and do something in that great big world out there.
What do you think, how do you motivate yourself past The Resistance and all the excellent, excellent reasons not to do your best?