Setting your new year’s goals #writing #amwriting

Despite the title of this post, I’m not one for setting goals simply because it’s a new year. But sometimes you need a little boost or nudge to get on with setting fresh goals and the arrival of a new year is the perfect excuse.

I’m taking nine months off work on long service leave to work on my writing, and I already know the time is going fly by.

So what are my goals?

I’ve been dedicated to writing sci-fi, so I’ve decided to branch out and write in other genres. I’ve also been a bit of a slave to the full length novel, so I’m also going to try my hand at a few novellas. As the saying goes, change is good for you. I don’t have work to distract me, and although I am no longer writing as much in the evenings, I am making good word count by day. Usually at least 2k words per day, but I’ve been getting up to a very healthy 4k+ on some days.

I’ve got five different book projects on the go at the moment at various stages of development, which is also unusual for me. Usually, I stick to one and finish it before I move on. I’m finding having several projects to pick from depending on my mood has been really beneficial to my word count. If I’m feeling out of ideas on one, I just pick up another.

It’s early days with this approach but it seems to be working so far. One novella is complete, another is at 75%, and I have had a good stab at a couple of other books. Whether I ever publish them is another matter. I think sometimes just getting back to writing for the joy of it without any end goal in mind delivers its own reward.

My first two books in my new Predictive trilogy are complete and with beta readers. I have some work to do on the first one based on feedback, and I’m letting the ideas incubate before I dive in.

I’m also playing around with the fourth book in the Divided World Series. I swore I would park it to devote time to other projects, but the ideas have been flowing so I figured why not.

And I’m loving being a full-time writer for the first time in my life. And although I know it has an end date, I’m determined to make the most of it.

Wishing everyone happy reading and writing in the new year 🙂

Here’s a sneak peek at book 4 in the Divided World Series…


“You’re not a threat anymore,” Tanis said smiling coldly. “I killed you, remember?”

“Ah, so you did,” said the Master. “But I am still here, am I not?”

“This is just a dream,” Tanis said.

The Master smiled a congenial smile and bobbed his head in agreement making his slit throat gape obscenely. “That is true, but you are listening to me. How else do you think purgatory works? It creeps over the landscape of our lives, taking a piece at a time. First our dreams, then our waking world begins to crumble as it sweeps through, until it finally claims our shattered soul. As you have already pointed out, I am not yet resting with God and my work is not yet done. And she is, by your own code, a threat. You are a Shadowlander—of the warrior caste. You are genetically bound to eliminate the threat. You can no more avoid killing her than you can avoid drawing breath.”

“Hannah isn’t a threat.” Tanis turned once more to the cell door, pounded on the aged wood and called for the guard.

The Master began laughing, a rich, melodious sound that rose above his furious thumping on the door.

 

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Drive – the surprising truth about what motivates us #writing

When we start out in life, we have amazing clarity on what we want to be. Perhaps we want to be a nurse, or a vet, or a firefighter. These simple needs or aspirations that we feel as a child can be forgotten as we grow up, and we lose sight of our deepest sense of purpose. Not everyone can, should, or will be as an adult, the thing they wanted to be as a child. But it is worth exploring this early career ideal though, because it is often surprisingly close to what we want and need as an adult.

This is an old video now, and I first watched it when it came out several years ago.

The concepts explained in this video remain true, and there is a surprising truth about what motivates us.

So, the surprising thing about motivation, is that it is only loosely related to money. We need ‘enough’ money, and once we have enough, our motivation shifts to a different level.

I spend anywhere from 10 hours upwards working on writing in my spare time, many weeks it can be as high as 20 hours. I am not alone in this, and my previous survey confirmed that many of my blog readers, just like me, can spend many hours a week working on their writing projects, with little or no monetary reward.

So why do we do this? Why use our precious time on something that pays so poorly, if it pays at all?

It all comes down to the three pillars of motivation.

Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose.

These are the things we want and crave. These are the things that get us out of bed in the morning, and keep us tapping away at our keyboards late into the night.

Autonomy: This is about the freedom to choose within the bounds of interdependence. In other words, given a set goal or objective, having the freedom to decide for ourselves how best to achieve this can prove to be powerful both to our performance and our overall wellness.

Master: We want to improve. This really is the bottom line. Find me a writer who has just written a great book, who doesn’t want to write an even better one next time – enough said.

Purpose: This is our energy, and is derived by connecting our conquest to our higher purpose. Living your life purpose might sound like a cliche, but if we know what our life purpose is, and we can find a way to make it a part of our working or home life, then we are well on the way to living a happy, fulfilled life.

For more on the subject see The Three Pillars of Motivation

For more on finding your life purpose see How to find your life purpose

I will leave you with a thought and a question. What did you want to be when you were a child, and does it relate at all to what you are doing now? Can you see any connection between what you love doing now, and what your childhood aspirations were?

15 questions to reveal your ultimate purpose in life

Drive – the surprising truth about what motivates us

When we start out in life, we have amazing clarity on what we want to be. Perhaps we want to be a nurse, or a vet, or a firefighter. These simple needs or aspirations that we feel as a child can be forgotten as we grow up, and we loose sight of our deepest sense of purpose. Not everyone can, should, or will be as an adult, the thing we wanted to be as a child. But it is worth exploring this early career ideal though, because it is often surprisingly close to what we want and need as an adult.

This is an old video now, and I first watched it when it came out several years ago.

The concepts explained in this video remain true, and there is a surprising truth about what motivates us.

So, the surprising thing about motivation, is that it is only loosely related to money. We need ‘enough’ money, and once we have enough, our motivation shifts to a different level.

I spend anywhere from 10 hours upwards working on writing in my spare time, many weeks it can be as high as 20 hours. I am not alone in this, and my previous survey confirmed that many of my blog readers, just like me, can spend many hours a week working on their writing projects, with little or no monetary reward.

So why do we do this? Why use our precious time on something that pays so poorly, if it pays at all?

It all comes down to the three pillars of motivation.

Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose.

These are the things we want and crave. These are the things that get us out of bed in the morning, and keep us tapping away at our keyboards late into the night.

Autonomy – This is about the freedom to choose within the bounds of interdependence. In other words, given a set goal or objective, having the freedom to decide for ourselves how best to achieve this can prove to be powerful both to our performance and our overall wellness.

Mastery – We want to improve. This really is the bottom line. Find me a writer who has just written a great book, who doesn’t want to write an even better one next time – enough said.

Purpose – This is our energy, and is derived by connecting our conquest to our higher purpose. I have blogged before about living your life purpose. It sounds like a cliche, but if we know what our life purpose is, and we can find a way to make it a part of our working or home life, then we are well on the way to living a happy, fulfilled life.

For more on the subject see The Three Pillars of Motivation

For more on finding your life purpose see How to find your life purpose

I will leave you with a thought and a question. What did you want to be when you were a child, and does it relate at all to what you are doing now? Can you see any connection between what you love doing now, and what your childhood aspirations were?

15 questions to reveal your ultimate purpose in life

What motivates you to write?

What motivates you?

My first reaction to this question was a little bit erm, I’m not sure. I just really, really want <Insert your desire here> . I have described myself as a little bit of a life drifter in the past. I have a great life, and I am very happy with what I have achieved, but do I really set myself a course? Or have I just acidented upon what and where I am?

Was I really motivated?

My thoughts drifted (yes, there’s that word again) off to the usual things that people talk of when they refer to positive motivation. Commonly mentioned things include money, fame, recognition from peers, perhaps the satisfaction you feel from helping others, or even a determination to find a cure for a disease. I realised that what motivates people is the vision of the end goal. That these ideas of motivation were all end goals, places we want to be physically, mentally, and spiritually.

“People are often motivated by the vision of the end goal.”

Ok, I kind of like that. I’m a writer, I love visualisation, I could get lost in visualisation!

Yep, better stop there, otherwise you can fall into the trap of spending so much time and effort visualising where you want to be that you never actually get there!

dream

So many people want things, but they are not prepared to put in the effort to get there. You want that great body, but do you get up early to exercise everyday? You want to be a hot shot lawyer, but are you prepared to study, and work the long hard hours to achieve this dream?

Achieving is sometimes about giving something else up. Motivation is the thing that makes it easy to give up x in order to get y. Working long hours doesn’t feel hard when each hour takes you closer to your dream. Not only does putting in the effort not feel like a burden, you actually enjoy it!

So, we have a dream, we are motivated to put the hard graft in to achieve it. We are mentally prepared to give up our time, comforts, donuts (donuts can be hard), to turn our vision into reality.

what

Now we are just missing one vital step…A plan to get us there.

Part 3 coming soon – Achieving your dreams by setting goals

What inspires you to write

I have recently been through various personality style / assessments at work as part of some training. I am deeply fascinated by this sort of thing. I love exploring personality types, both my own and others. I love trying to figure out what makes people tick, their goals and aspirations, their life journeys, and what makes them unique.

The main one I have done is called Life Style Inventory. If you are not sure what Life Style Inventory is click here to the link. Basically you answer comprehensive list of questions. You, your peers, your manager, and your subordinates all complete this questionnaire, and you received detailed feedback on your thinking and behaviour styles. Not quite the same as a personality type, but sort of similar.

I have a coach who works with me on reviewing all the feedback and, as if I haven’t already done enough questions, he sent me a separate questionnaire to help him better understand how to work with me as my coach.

Amongst the many questions was…What inspires and motivates you?

Ok, I love questions like this 🙂

Lets look at inspiration first.

The immediate thought that came to mind was no one, as if only other people could be an inspiration. You often hear people talk about being inspired by other people who have succeed in their chosen field. For example athletes, humanitarians, great writers or poets, pop stars etc.

I was feeling a little, nope, thats not me.

Then I turned it around and asked myself what makes me want to write?

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This was instantly easier to answer. I love looking out at nature, and I have an amazing view from my writing room (above). But I also feel inspired by beauty and art of all kinds including music, stories, buildings, etc. If I was also going to get into specifics I would add, myths, legends, fables, and any tale with a theme that resonate with my inner hero.

I love travelling and history, and there is nothing more moving to me that standing at a historical sight and letting my imagination run wild. I find this very inspiring. Wherever we go on holidays I always work it around something I know I will find inspiring, and afterwards it’s pretty much an ideas avalanche.

Below. I find castles to be be a huge inspiration personally. I find they both tragic and romanic, particularly ones like Raglan in Wales, shown here. Raglan has such a dark and traumatic past that it is hard to walk around it and press your fingers against the ancient stone without feeling a little of that history seep into your own soul.

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Below, taken on a walk along a stretch of the Great Wall of China, just outside Beijing. I saw some amazing historical sights while travelling through China. I love hearing about the history, the culture, and events that happened at the places I visited.

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So in conclusion, for me, it is the product of amazing people, not necessarily the people themselves, that inspires me. I wonder how these genius creators would feel about me stating that?

I think that if anyone ever said a book I had written inspired them, even in some very tiny way, I would be beyond delighted. So I think, and I hope, they would be happy to know I find the results of their hard work so inspiring.

And, if I had to choose between someone remembering me or my book. I would choose my book every time.

Part 2 coming soon. What motivates you?