I’m writing this post in the hope that it will reach the eyes of those who have allowed their personal ambitions and dreams to slip away over months that turn into years. (I am one of you).
I obviously harbour ambitions for a career in writing. It brings me so much joy, catharsis, titillation(!), and I feel that I am good at it. It gives me a boost of self-confidence, affirmation that I am not floating in the ether towards expiration (blimey Richard, blimey!)
Without wishing to toot my own bugle, I have achieved quite a lot in the writing field. I have been widely published, worked for some wonderful literary institutions, got my MA in Creative Writing, and have my first book of poems out soon.
However. All of this was achieved when I was much more productive, and motivated. I am talking years ago…
The usual things have stopped me doing the thing I love to do most. Mental health (see my blog 5 tips to help you with depression and anxiety for context), work, stupid excuses, fear, and laziness. Recently I have become very aware of this. And, as such, have started to address this.
Dear, beautiful stranger, if you have similar feelings of losing hope, time, or sight of your goals this is for you.
- You’re the only person who can motivate yourself.
When night draws in, despite time limitations, and other such things, it is you who is in control of your activities. You may love to to draw, paint, play bongos, or stare out of windows. But if you currently don’t do this and want to, you really have the autonomy to change this now.
You do, honest!
Take my website. God, I wanted to update it for ages. One day I got fed up of losing time, and simply updated it. Same for sending poems and stories to literary magazines, “getting myself out there” (performances etc), applying for writing opportunities, Blah Blah Blah (cheers Iggy for that marvellous record, by the way).
The key is to set goals. For example, now I’m writing a poem a week, and two blogs a week. I am also doing two poetry performances a month. This makes me feel really good. I’m doing stuff I love. How divine.
- Don’t define success by exterior achievements.
By this, I mean that the success should be in the joy of doing what you love. The outcome is out of your hands, ultimately.
I would love to publish a novel, have a play staged etc. But if I only counted these sort of achievements as successes, I’d be miserable as they may not happen.
Hard truth to face, but an important one.
- Never look at “the big picture”.
This will almost inevitably set you up to fail as it’s just too damn overwhelming to look at the end point of a goal or ambition.
Break things down, celebrate little milestones. Enjoy the walk. It’ll make that potential cider in the country pub at the end taste so much better.
- Never ever ever ever ever compare yourself to other people. Ever.
This will destroy you and minimise any achievements that you do make. Be inspired by people, yes, and elect “mentors”. But don’t ponder on how “little” you’ve achieved in comparison to others. Chances are they’re doing the same with someone else.
Focus, laser-like, on you and what you’re doing.
- The dream is the journey.
As I wrote just now, if I only counted exterior achievements as successes, I’d be miserable as they may not happen.
The joy is the doing. Remember that.
Did you have a mighty fine read? Did this make you think? Comment below, and let’s discuss goals, dreams, and just getting the bloody motivation to do something you love. I want to hear your thoughts!