Finding Motivation

Being self-employed is hard.

Getting to work from home and write is what I’ve always wanted to do, so of course I’m incredibly grateful. But a lot of days it’s difficult to get to work. It’s hard to sit down at the computer every day and write when I don’t often get to see visible results from the work I do.

I was called to do this, I know that. The only career that ever spoke to me was being a writer. I know that this is what God intended for my life. But then I’m alone at home during the day, and it’s really quiet with just me and my dog, and I have so much trouble focusing. The publishing world is so hard and most days seems impossible to break into. It’s hard to imagine myself getting a literary agent and get a book deal trough traditional publishing, like I’ve always dreamed.

Last week I read The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula by Jennifer Blanchard. Blanchard talked about how if you’re ever going to make it, you need to believe it. You need to have a bestselling author mindset. You need to tell yourself, “I will be a bestselling author,” because once you believe that, you’ll finally be willing to take the steps needed to get there.

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The Bestselling Author Mindset Formula by Jennifer Blanchard

So after so many years of self-doubt, I’m choosing to believe it. I will be a bestselling author. I will one day get a traditional publishing deal and I’ll be able to walk into a bookstore and see my name on the shelves. My books will one day bear “New York Times bestselling author.” It will happen if I believe it. It will happen if I trust that this is what God has called me to do and I follow him to get there.

To help me stay motivated, I’ve made a reward system for myself. One sticker if I write so many words and one if I work so many hours each day, and I earn prizes if I fill out a sheet. I always thought it was a little silly when my professor said she used a sticker system, but I’m six days in already and I’ve noticed a huge difference.

Give a sticker or some other reward system a try if you’ve been struggling to find motivation to work. And try believing in yourself. Say to yourself that you’ll be a bestselling author. If you believe it, then you’re already on your way.

Margaret Peterson Haddix at Books & Co

Last night I got the chance to see one of my favorite writers. Margaret Peterson Haddix was at Books & Co in Dayton last night to launch her new book, Children of Exile, which is the first in a new trilogy and her 38th book.

Children of Exile sounded so interesting as she described how she got the idea for it and read the first chapter. She said the idea came to her when she was at a publishing conference at a Disney property and there was a contrast between the very happy workers saying “Have a magical day!” and impatient hotel guests and a very sad book she had been reading at the time. The book is about a group of children that have been raised in an idyllic community, but not by their real parents. They are just told that it wasn’t safe for them with their parents. But now that the two oldest children have turned twelve, they’re all going back home. I can’t wait to get a chance to read this.

Haddix was my first favorite author. Her first novel, Running Out of Time, was the first book I remember truly loving and reading over and over. When I was in eighth grade, she came and spoke at my school and talked about how cool it is that she gets to tell stories for a job. And that was when I decided that that’s what I wanted to do with my life too. I walked up to her after her presentation and shyly told her that she was my favorite author and asked her to sign my books.

And last night I got to go up to her and I asked her to sign the dozen other of her books I’ve collected since then. And I got to tell her that she made me want to write, and now, ten years later, my first novel is about to come out.

Haddix is one of the friendliest authors I’ve met, and I highly recommend all of her books! Also, her advice for writers: read a lot because it’s like cheating to become a better writer, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and make time in your day just to think.

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I loved getting to see Margaret Peterson Haddix again!