Motivation by Christine Duncan

I’ve been spending a great deal of time lately thinking about motivation. I am, without a doubt, busy. I work two 12 hour days a week at a bookkeeping job. And three to four days a week, I am babysitting my grandchildren. Sunday is my day with my husband.

So writing is going by the wayside right now and I don’t like that. My running is also taking a hit.

My standard way of motivating myself is what I have heard referred to as “if, then.” For example, if it is Sunday night after dinner, then I write this blog. There is no fudge factor. That has always worked with my running too. If it is morning, then I am running before work. This used to be unarguable. But when I am already getting up at four a.m. for those twelve hour days, I find my capacity to argue to be increased exponentially.

Recently, though I ran into a couple of quotes that are helping both with writing, and running. The first is from Voltaire.
“Perfection is the enemy of the good.” I am a perfectionist. If I am going to write, it should be for hours. If I am going to run, well, then it should be at least four miles, right? But a couple of miles is better than none. And if I don’t make a run on Monday or Tuesday, well, then I haven’t ruined the week,I will run on Sunday and Wednesday and…. And as for writing, well, I might not have hours now but there are times when the kids are sleeping, or sometimes before they get here.

But often when the kids nap, I am tired too, and maybe I haven’t had lunch yet and it’s summer and I don’t feel like writing. I’m not feeling inspired.
Which leaves me with the second very cool quote I read lately. This one is from an artist, not a writer. Chuck Close said, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us show up and get to work.”

All of which brings me back to my if then approach. From now on, if the kids are napping, I will do some writing. It will not be the perfect number of hours, but it will be good. I can eat while I write. Now all I have to do is figure out how to fit in cleaning the house, paying the bills, and lawn and garden chores.


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