Tag Archives: motivation

When you have your own “Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day” moment just keep #amwriting

You know that children’s book, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day?” Well for me it’s been that kind of few weeks. I’m sporting a stitched-up-split-lower-lip, 2 broken teeth and a nasty concussion. No I didn’t take up MMA training and I didn’t tame a grizzly. As much as I’d love to share some awesomely heroic story the truth is I pushed myself when I should have taken it easy. I suffer from chronic migraines and yes I finally have a good treatment plan to prevent most of them but I still get one from time to time. Two weeks ago I had one. I took medicine and powered through my long Monday night of 6 hours of dance classes. It’s recital season and very hard to cancel class. I came home and spent time with baby boy and then passed out. Luckily I wasn’t holding my son.

Lately I’ve either been spending my time at the neurologist or the dentist and after my upcoming root canals I should by then be on a first name basis with the staff of a clinic that until recently I only visited once a year. On top of all this I have a daughter undergoing tests to find out the cause of her hypoglycemia, a dog with reoccurring ear infections, scheduling drama over my dance recital and a slew of annoyances that seem to pop up each day. Annoyances like the cat knocking over a vase of flowers just as I’m about to leave the house, the dogs deciding a mud bath is a splendid idea again just before I need to be somewhere, etc. And then our bathroom flooded the entire downstairs creating a horrible mess! We’ve all had times like these but this has been my “are you kidding me?” time of times.

Which brings me to my writing. It’s so hard to write when life happens but it’s a fact that all writers must face. Life happens and that’s a good thing even when you have a time when you want to curl up in a ball and SCREAM. Times like these are frustrating but also, at least for me motivating. After a long day of dental appointments and dance classes yesterday it would have been easy to just not have time to write. It would have been nice to have more time to relax and settle in for the night. However, once I got my butt in the chair and started to write I found that I wrote past the time I had promised to do so. That often happens, I just get going and the thoughts flow. It’s therapeutic, relaxing and extremely motivating. After a day like that I was able to string together not just a coherent thought but also a pretty good fictional scene! Then after feeling like I rose up over my bad day I was able to have 45 minutes to cuddle on the couch with my dogs and catch up on a TV show.

Having a bad day, week, or longer? Just keep writing…..

Having a bad day, week, or longer? Just keep writing…..

It was the perfect end to a hectic and rough day. I always hate to use the term “bad day” because those should be reserved for times of health crisis or when something is going on with my children. Luckily they are well and happy and it’s important to always keep that in perspective.

So when life seems so rough that your life could rival a sitcom I recommend to not cut writing (or any goal you desire) out of your daily plans. To stop writing was tempting. That would have been easier but then I’d just add another thing to my list to complain about. Control what you can control and keep up the #amwriting!

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Writing through frustration

We all go through times of frustration in our lives. I’m going through a rough time right now, which I won’t go into but it is being a very awakening experience. At first I went through the lack of focus stage and nothing was getting accomplished. That is getting better everyday but now my whole approach has changed.

I’m now on the overdrive stage where I’m cranking out project after project. My latest YA edits are nearly done and I’m almost done editing all the recital music. Some days lately I’ve felt like superwoman and it feels great. It definitely eases frustration and I feel accomplished getting things done.

I still think the trick to all issues regarding time management is balance. I’m an active person who gets bored quickly so it helps me to balance my time between my writing and my dance business. Of course family comes first, I’m just discussing work balance in this post.

I turn to the brilliance of great minds to help me through frustration or when I get into a rut. I love motivational quotes and find inspiration in them. I think it is important to create a workspace and living space that inspires and motivates. Everyone needs and deserves a boost sometimes, why not create an environment that works for you and not against you?

Source: Addicted2Success.com

Source: Addicted2Success.com


I also think blogging is helpful. Right now while I’m getting my life back together I like to think that people are reading what I write and may find comfort in it. Everyone goes through rough times. I believe this and I do not feel alone. I hope that when I write about how I’m coping and how I’m meeting (and hopefully succeeding) time management/ productiveness struggles that I’m helping someone out there.

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Creating rituals to meet those word counts

We all have rituals. Some may be seemingly normal while others a little strange. When I danced competitively I always got to the competition early and sat by myself to watch other dances. I never ran through my dance because I felt that if I didn’t know it by then there was nothing I could do. I had to pop my knuckles and hop up and down six times before taking the stage. While waiting for my results I talked to no one; I just sat by myself and watched the other dancers. I did this every time I danced and it worked for me. What may seem strange or silly to someone may be a comfort to another.

I also find myself creating rituals without even meaning to. When I write I must play music and not just any music – I have to have something from Two Steps from Hell or the composer Thomas Bergersen. If you have no idea who I’m talking about then just think of trailer music. Their music often accompanies memorable and epic film trailers. Without my music I feel lost and out of sorts. I also love to write in one-hour intervals. After an hour I’ll stop to work on a dance, check emails, etc. and then I’ll dive into another hour of writing. I love this format so much that for my birthday this year my husband bought me an hourglass. I now use it rather than my old egg timer. This just feels way cooler to me!

New office addition next to pen holder. So much better than an egg timer!

New office addition next to pen holder. So much better than an egg timer!

November is a month when a lot of writers try to push their writing to the limits with NaNoWriMo. I’m one of those writers. A nice way to ease the stress is to not be afraid to take time and seek out helpful rituals when you’re having a great writing sprint. What made that writing session productive? It may have nothing to do with a ritual but then it might. Take note as to what the setting and other environmental factors are when you are feeling motivated.

I feel it’s important to be observant of you. Try to find out what motivates you and find creative ways to replicate that scenario when you want to tap back into that productiveness.

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To NaNo or not to NaNo

That really is a big question for many writers these days. November is National Novel Writing Month and it’s knocking at our door. After many have calmed from their post-Halloween sugar highs they find time to write a novel in one month. Now calm down – this doesn’t need to be a perfect, publication ready novel. It can be a sloppy rough draft and it most certainly will be. However, it’s fun to connect with other writers throughout the month, encourage each other and share your daily word counts.
NaNoWriMo
As a writer I treat every month as NaNoWriMo but I respect the process and meaning of the month and encourage others to participate. Sometimes you just need a little nudge. Everyone needs a push from time to time. That’s why I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year because I need a push and I plan to use the support from the writing community during November to give me the motivation I need.

Since losing our youngest daughter I’ve struggled with my focus and need a push. There are many reasons on why people fall out of their routines. Solidifying a writing routine is a great reason to jump into NaNo. Here are some other great reasons on why NaNo is a great event to partake it.

1. Enjoy the support of the writing community
2. See that you are not alone in your writing journey
3. Show your family and friends that you are a serious writer
4. Get a pesky story and characters out of your head

And I’m sure the list could go on and on but these are always my top reasons for NaNoWriMo. I do agree that what we do becomes habit. In order to write an average sized novel in one month you’d have to write about 1,000 words a day. If you think about the novel in smaller chucks like that then it isn’t too overwhelming. But if you get into the habit of writing those 1,000 words a day why stop after NaNo? Use November to help launch a new and improved writing routine.

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? Why do you want to participate? How has participating in the past helped you define a better writing routine?

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Finding new focus

Life happens and bad things happen to good people. We’ve learned that first hand this summer as we lost our youngest daughter. Our world was turned upside down and shaken more than James Bond shook his martinis. But you don’t have to experience a death in the family or another tragic event to have your focus shaken. Anything can shake our focus. No matter how big or small the reason, losing your focus can be devastating to your writing and your life overall.

So how does one recover focus? Well, I’m not going to profess to be an expert but I can tell you how I’m personally tackling this topic and how I feel it is working for me.

Don’t fight it. When my focus left the building I took time off. The amount of time you need to take off will probably depend on what you are going through. I took over a month off from blogging and three weeks off from writing all together. It’s only depressing to try something and fail so I chose not to try until I could focus on the task and I could be successful. Even when I started writing again I did so in small chunks. I was realistic and saved my ambition for when I felt like I could handle it.

I also became hooked on lists. Now I’ve always been a fan of to-do lists or rather as I call them, goal lists. I always have a list going with two columns: to-do and completed. This way I not only see what I need to do but also my accomplishments. After I lost my focus I took this concept to a new level. While before I followed my list now I was even more dependent on it. I wrote down EVERYTHING. No matter how simple or mundane the task seemed, I included it on my list as a way to help me stay on task. I found this to be very effective and really owe the technique credit to my returning to some sense of efficiency.

While it’s been hard for me to do this next step, it has helped me in the past to get over a productive hurtle. Get up and work out! Yes, fitness is the best way to clear a cluttered or unfocused mind. So is getting out and finding some fresh air, though this is difficult to do in Saudi this time of year due to the extreme heat.

Another thing that has helped me tremendously is making a diligent effort to get motivated. I actually subscribed to a daily motivational quote app and I write each day’s quote on a board in our kitchen. This way I’m sure to see it throughout the day.

Motivational quotes like this one help me focus.

Motivational quotes like this one help me focus.

Stuff happens to us that shatters focus and efficiency. Maybe nothing in particular happened you just needed a break to refocus. Whatever the reason, these are some techniques I’ve used to find my new focus. What have you done to find focus?

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When you have to save the world…

So that may sound dramatic but this is what makes me write, workout, clean or anything that requires motivation. No, I know I can’t really save the world but thanks to the right theatrical score, I can definitely fool myself. I need music in my life. Without it nothing seems to get accomplished and it can’t just be any music. I need heroic sounding theatrical scores from movies.

Nothing motivates like a heroic tune. How can I get off the elliptical machine when that music makes me want to take down the villain or save the world from a number of natural disasters?

It’s almost to the point that when a new action flick comes out I’m more interested in its score. As for my writing, I often chose which score to listen to based on what kind of scene I’m working with.

Currently my favorites are “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon” and “X-Men: First Class.” I seem to rotate out various scores and I get so excited when I get a new one.

However lately, I could probably do anything to the sound of Baby Markey counting to ten. Now that she can do that it is all she wants to do and I love the sound of her sweet voice.

Everyone has their unique rituals they follow while navigating life. What do you need to accomplish work or just everyday life? I now give you some great heroic music as you enjoy your Wednesday!

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