Capri before getting back to writingHolidays are a memory, warm sunshine too, time for getting back to writing. But I know only too well how easy it is for that motivation to slip away.

I came back from my own holiday on Friday, to the usual flood of emails, lists of projects to catch up on, questions to answer from the bank… I was all ready to get stuck in to the next batch of writing, but somehow it never happened.

Goals or process?

I needed to get myself motivated. There is much discussion in the happiness industry between those who think that you need to motivate yourself with big juicy goals to achieve, and those who feel that it’s more important to be motivated by enjoying the process. These believe that goals can be an illusion – that true happiness comes from enjoying what you are doing, moment by moment.

When I’m deep into the process of writing, I am as happy as I ever am. Sometimes. And then sometimes it’s desperately painful, frustrating and even frightening.

Sometimes I dither or distract myself for fear of plunging in – even though perversely I know I’ll enjoy it once I’ve got started. I even procrastinated before starting this blog today.

At such times, I need a juicy goal to push me.

The 2 goal system

The best way I’ve found to set a goal is actually to set two goals.

Goal One is big and exciting and positive. I think of all the great things that are going to happen when I’ve finished that script, novel, story, blog post, whatever. I imagine what things will look like, what I’ll say to myself, what I’ll feel. More importantly still, I go beyond, into the future. What will I be able to do now that I’ve done that? Who will be affected, maybe in a small way, maybe in a large way? People I know, maybe people I don’t yet know, or may never know.

Goal Two is small, easy and immediate. This is something I can do right now and feel good about – like opening Scrivener or Final Draft, reading some notes, taking the phone off the hook.

Getting on with it

Can you imagine how good it feels to set a big, exciting goal and then immediately do something about it?

The strange thing is that when you sit down to write there are so many reasons not to. But then you set a couple of goals and get stuck in and before long you wonder why you hesitated?

Tell me how you get on. (If you want more articles to help you get back to writing – check the Writer’s Mindset category of the blog)