“So, what'll it take to motivate you? Should I take away tv time,” my husband asked with a sly smirk on his face.
I slid my foot into my black converse and started to tie the worn out laces. “Noooo, dad. I have no idea what'll it take to get me writing again. Every time I set goals or a schedule I never follow through so what's the point?” I straightened my legs out in front of me and studied my old black chucks.
“What do you think, babe, should my next pair be pink or purple? I'm thinking I need some color in my life.”
“We could set up a shoe budget and every week you reach your goal we can put money into it.”
My eyes shifted to the man sitting on the floor trying to put shoes on a wiggly two year old. I was afraid to make any sudden movements. Does he know what he just said? Is he really serious? Oh my God, think of all the shoes! Not soon after all those thoughts raced through my mind his eyes met mine.
“My carrot? I thought we were talking shoes?”
“We are. You know the motivational theory about the carrot and the stick…”
I had no idea what he was talking about and I have to admit, I was still thinking about shoes, sparkly, sexy shoes. Before I knew it his fingers were snapping in front of me.
“Karen! Stay with me, Karen. Look, there are two ways to get a horse to move, punishment or reward. You either swat it on the butt with a stick to get it move faster or you dangle a carrot in front of it to get it move forward. You obviously respond to the reward motivation. Get it?”
I stood up and adjusted my shirt. “I sure do. If I write I get shoes.”
He smiled at me like a proud teacher and zipped up his jacket. I returned the smile and turned to leave before adding, “And you just called me a horse, but if you tell me more about the stick theory I'll forget about it.” 😉
I've been struggling to write for over a year now. It was like the second I realized I wanted to write all the words left me. Sure I would blog and write little pieces of fiction or even a scene or two towards my wip but nothing that made me feel like I was being productive.
I felt as if I was becoming a poser, saying I was a writer because it sounded cool. In fact, a writer friend of mine, who has several awesome sci-fi books out, once joked with me that I was an indie author groupie. I hung out with them, cheered them on, would do anything for them (well almost anything, I wasn't that kind of groupie) but nothing on my own front.
It didn't take long for me to get really down on myself. The more I tried to force the words out the whiter that blank page became. Then life threw a couple curve balls at me this past fall and I thought my writing career was over before it began. I was ready to give up, and in fact, I kinda did. I resorted to living the way I used to before discovering writing and I found myself meandering around from day to day with no real purpose.
I felt myself slipping into a depression and Eric noticed. He has been trying everything he can think of to make it easier for me to write. He's been taking care of the kids at night, helping with the chores and although that helped with just living day to day, it did nothing for my creativity.
I had already convinced myself that I wasn't a writer and I started to crumble underneath the weight of the depression.
Today Eric and I had a very long and in depth chat. There are some changes coming to my family over the next few weeks and we needed to sit down to make sure all of our ducks were in a row. It was during that talk that the flood gates opened and I broke. All my insecurities, my wants, my desires came rushing out of me in a sloppy mess of tears and a runny nose.
It was then when I voiced my thought that maybe I wasn't a writer. My heart dropped a little when I realized it wasn't hard to say those words at all; maybe they were true.
Eric countered with, “So don't write. What else do you want to do? Where do you want to work? Where do you see yourself?”
Thousands of jobs rushed through my head. Teacher. No, thank you. Accountant. That requires math skills. Psychologist. Yeah, right, like I'm in any position to tell people how to live happily.
So I switched gears. Instead of thinking of a job title I tried to picture myself in a setting doing something. The setting that popped up was a small room painted in a warm brown color with muted lights above a wooden desk filled with notebooks, post it notes and highlighters. I saw a big comfy chair in the corner with a reading light extended over it. A small bookcase filled with reference books and reading material was next to the chair.
And there I was, sitting at that semi-cluttered desk typing away on my computer. Writing.
The first step to writing, for me at least, is to admit, “Yeah. I need to write.”
Writing can be hard for me. But I need to be serious about it, I need to dedicate time each day to it. I'm not saying, “I WILL WRITE A THOUSAND WORDS EACH DAY, NOW WATCH ME!” because I'm a realist. If I don't do it, I'll just lie to you and tell you I did.
That's how the above dialogue came to be. For some writers they reward themselves with chocolate or alcohol, or a date night with a spouse. I love shoes. I'm a complete female when it comes to them. I squeal, I dance in a circle, I drool, what can I say, I'm girly over shoes; and if you make fun of me I will gladly punch your lights out. 😀
Thanks to living on a tight budget for six years I couldn't indulge in them. However, things are looking up and if we can squirrel a couple of bucks each paycheck towards shoes for motivation… well then I'm writing.
Whatever works, right? 😉