The other night, I was marveling at how incredibly productive I used to be during my kids’ nap times. Honestly, while they napped for two hours, I would get more done than I did for the rest of the day. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, writing–I was a whirlwind of efficiency. But now that my kids are in school all day and I have roughly six hours of time, the opposite is true. Why? What has changed?
A friend asked me the other day, “Are you aiming to have your second book done by Thanksgiving like you did with the last one?” That made me realize what’s missing in my schedule today: assignments and deadlines.
I’m very bad at goal-setting, but I’ve always thrived in work environments. When I had an assignment (goal) imposed by another (boss/colleague) and a deadline (2pm/Friday/First of the month), it got done, often before it was due. Now that I’m my own boss, I need to give myself assignments and deadlines. And I haven’t been doing that.
While it’s easy to say that ‘life got in the way’ or ‘some things came up and I couldn’t write today’ that’s really a cop out. I would never tell that to my boss. So while I need flexibility to allow for a sick kid, family emergency or sudden home maintenance problem, I can still set weekly goals for myself and work toward them a bit at a time, just as I would do for an external boss. And I need to hold myself accountable, just as any boss would.
Admittedly the relaxed schedule of summer made it easy to slide away from strict schedules. But I now have a website and a blog in addition to my current novel. Just updating those sites every other day and giving myself a word count goal each week would be enough. And I’m targeting Thanksgiving to have a completed first draft of my current WIP.
How do you get motivated to write? Do you wait for the muse or are you a goal setter?