Balancing Act

Such as they are.

I don’t usually do New Year Resolution posts. Like Jeffe, I tend to feel the promises we make in private to ourselves are a much more telling sign of our ability to accomplish something. Not that we all don’t want praise and kudos for reaching our goals – there’s a big reason programs like Weight Watchers works for so many people, for example.

But praise is a hollow motivator sometimes. I know for myself there’s a big difference when someone congratulates me on something I don’t feel like I’ve earned. It feels good for about 30 seconds, but after that? It’s all empty. Because inside, I know it’s not real.

(But hey I finished the draft for A Trace of Moonlight, whee! Subbing to editor some point this week, so yay for me to get that done. Starting the new year without it hanging over my head is a lovely, lovely thing.)

Sometimes we need a kick in the pants. Sometimes it’s about finding time to reach those goals – I need to get certified for work for example – and it’s one of those things where I need to study to take a test. I already know that the only way I’m going to make time to study is if I schedule the test. Otherwise it’s too easy to constantly push aside for more “important” things.

Back when I started getting a bit more serious about writing, I began leaving my word-counts up in the side bar. Not so much as an attention getting thing (ooh, look how much I’m writing and and I am an author and blah blah blah), but more as a personal accountability record. And sure, I could keep that in a spreadsheet or something, but for me it was a very nice feeling to watch that word count go up and it inspired me to continue writing, even on nights when I really felt too tired to do it. I guess I’m a visual creature in that respect…and in some ways, all these little blogs and websites are second homes for me. I spend so much time here, it makes sense to give myself tiny reminders of what my goals are. (Like sticky notes, I guess.)

It’s hard as a writer, though. Because it’s so solitary, most people don’t always understand how easy it is to get discouraged. So it *is* nice to announce to the world that you reached a milestone, even a personal one – particularly in an online group like Twitter, for example. We get it. 😉

On the other hand, it’s not good to get dependent on those kudos either. Your primary motivation needs to come from within you – not based on the potential praise you may receive – otherwise it loses its value. (And probably starts becoming a bit of an obnoxious ego monster.)

Like everything else, it becomes a balancing act between wanting what you need and needing what you have. How you strike that balance is up to you.

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2 Responses to Balancing Act

  1. Lexcade says:

    Happy new year, Allison! *two days late* You're absolutely right. As my mom tells me, the only one doing this is YOU and the only one who can stand in your way is YOU. So, self-motivation goes a looooong way in this business. 

    Sometimes it's hard to get a jumpstart, so you need to work that much harder to attain your goals.

    Here's to a wonderfully productive 2012 🙂

  2. Jeffe Kennedy says:

    Congrats on finishing! Accomplishments like that are ALWAYS brag worthy!

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