Writing Motivation

on the paperHave you ever thought about what motivates you? I ask myself this question almost daily. For the longest time I struggled to write, because I was unmotivated. Or, perhaps more specifically, I was unmotivated because I was overwhelmed with being a mother and wife.  I would often sit in front of my computer and stare at the computer screen without writing a single word. No words would come. As a result, I would become more frustrated and even less motivated. This vicious cycle hindered every aspect of my life. Then, one day I finally realized that I write for my family. I want to communicate with them effectively through writing and show them the passions of my heart. More importantly, however, I write for myself. In that moment of realization, my entire perspective on writing changed.

Writing for myself, or rather, preaching truth to myself, means expressing thoughts and ideas that come from my soul; a reflection of my innermost being. It is a way to express the thoughts that are hidden deep within. Strikingly, as I thought about “Writing for myself” I realized that it isn’t really for myself at all. I am writing to myself because I need to “preach the truth” into my own life. when I examined thoughts, ideas and desires, I realized that When I examined those thoughts and desires, I realized that even though I would someday LOVE to have a book published and read by thousands (millions if I’m totally honest), I am truly satisfied with having the ability to express my thoughts for myself. I also realized that motivation is not a constant force. There are still days that I struggle to put words onto paper. They either sound horrible or don’t make sense. The key is to keep writing anyway. Eventually, words will come. They may not be the best words, but they could also be better than anything else you have ever written. Remember your motivation and keep writing. Few people will ever see those days filled with pieces of crumpled paper or the backspace button, but no matter what, you have been writing.

Even though this realization has totally changed how I write, I still struggle because I see my house that needs its walls washed. I remember that I have a load of laundry that needs to be folded or dishes in the sink that need to be cleaned. As a writer, my most important job is to write, but as a mother and wife, my most important job is to care for my family and home. To combine these two effectively, I need to make specific choices that enhance and enable me to pursue my passions and care for my family effectively.

  • First, I make sure to follow through with the mundane tasks, like doing the dishes, cleaning, and folding laundry. None of these tasks are bad, and I even enjoy some of them, but leaving any of them to “wait until tomorrow” hinders my productivity as a writer. I find it very difficult to focus when I am surrounded by piles of clothes, toys or dishes. By making sure that I finish the household tasks before I write, I have enabled myself to fully dedicate my thoughts to writing.
  • Second, I incorporate my children into the daily activities. My oldest daughter loves to dry dishes and my second daughter is always picking up toys and “doing laundry” (mainly putting the dry clothes back into the washer when I’m not paying attention 🙂 ). Engaging them in household chores helps me to teach them responsibility, how to care for a household and allows us to work together to accomplish important tasks before “play” occurs. The same thing is true for my writing. Every time I sit down to write when they are awake, I make sure that they can color, draw or read while I am working. This creates a sense of unity and allows them to see me following my dreams. Above all else, I want my children to know that they are part of my life, not just side thoughts.
  • Third, create “time blocks.” I am a horrible time scheduler. I often find myself taking far longer than necessary on a specific item on my “to do list.” However, time blocks have totally changed my thinking about scheduling my time. Here is an excellent resource for block scheduling that I loved from heydonna.com. Every day I have blocks of time for specific facets of my life. I also keep a running “To Do” list. During those blocks of time, I attempt to complete as many tasks as possible on that list. Once the block of time is up, I move on to the next list/block. It has worked so much better because I have been able to feel more accomplished which creates motivation.
  • Fourth, be lenient with yourself. This does not mean allow yourself to avoid work. It means, when you fail, it is ok. You are able to get back up and do it again. Giving yourself a physical or mental bashing is less effective than being positive. When this happens, and it is bound to happen, have grace and allow yourself to pick back up the pieces. As one of my favorite character said “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.” -Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables. Nothing is more stressful than being hard on yourself. Being motivated is tied to the way we view ourselves. Should we constantly be degrading ourselves because we didn’t accomplish our goals? No. Being lenient means giving yourself an opportunity to do it again, correctly, tomorrow, or the next day.
  • Finally, I make sure to focus on the most important parts of my life: my husband and children. They are my first responsibility. If they are feeling unloved, neglected or frustrated, I have the responsibility to raise them as best as I can without interruption from my other responsibilities. Sometimes, this means just snuggling on the couch or making cookies in the kitchen. Writing will always be around, but children grow so fast and life changes quickly. Treasuring the fleeting moments will not only make you a better mother, but it will also make you a better writer because you will have learned to slow down, observe and engage in the meaningful parts of life.

Motivation comes in many different forms. My children motivate me to be a better person and writer. Ultimately, even though I write for myself, I write for them because my life is their story. Every decision I make; every moment we spend defines them as people. They each have distinct personalities, love maps and desires, but I have the ability to mold and shape them into men and women of character, just like I can do with my novel’s characters. What will you do today to further your children’s stories?

 

 

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I Am Me

Early one morning I sat on my bed crying and wondering if my life would ever include more than diaper changes, sleepless nights, and toddler tantrums. I had always dreamed about being a parent. For years, it was all I wanted. However, in that moment the reality of being a parent was drastically different than my expectations. I found myself comparing my present life to the life I “wanted” and to other people ‘s lives. I felt worthless, worn out and empty. An incredible friend then reminded me, that every woman is created in the image of God and has been given a variety of tasks and talents to use. However, living passionately and accepting the roles God has prepared is difficult. Being a woman is hard work, but it presents many opportunities to change the world. A proper perspective about our identities in Christ is key to viewing ourselves correctly to accomplish these tasks set before us by God.

 I Am Unique

I am unique. God created me as a unique individual. This is clearly seen in the DNA code. No other person in the world shares the same DNA code. Every hair, thought, action, and response contributes to a unique being who has been chosen by God to be part of his plan. In creation, God spoke and created the world, animals, skies etc. However, when he created man he said “… Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26-27). Created in the image of God, can you imagine? The God of the universe took the time to form mankind with his own hands out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). He took this kind of time because he cares deeply about who we are as unique individuals.

As a unique human being, I have a voice. Voice is a unique tool that allows me to speak truth in a way that makes sense to me but also to connect with others. It is my “mark” on the world. By using my voice to clearly articulate, I am able to stand out for his glory and honor.

Uniqueness is a tool that allows individuals to make the world a better place.

I AM Called

Perhaps one of my favorite scripture verses are Romans 8:26-30 which says “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers, and those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” There is so much in this passage of scripture that Could be focused on, but the I wanted to focus on the “Called” portion of the passage. God calls the saints according to his purpose! He has a specific plan for every believer.

This is a great encouragement, especially if you are anything like me. I struggle to feel purpose in my life. There are days that I wonder, especially when I have done nothing else but care for my children all day, if I am really doing what God has called me to do. However, being a mother is as calling and a great responsibility. The difference is the way that I complete my calling. If I focus on my calling to follow him, then everything else in life will fall into place!

I Am Equipped

Feeling inferior… This is a huge struggle. I look around and I see every one else who is “better” at what I believe God has called me to. Being a mother is hard. I often feel like I do not have all of the tools to accomplish the tasks he sets before me, but he has equipped me. This equipping comes through his word and his Spirit which is our guide through life. My father once told me that God gave my children to me, because he wanted me to raise them and would give me the tools that I needed to do so. This is important! God calls and equips his servants to do his will. As women, we have many different roles (wife, mother, employee, employer etc) and the Spirit’s equipping is the only way that we are able accomplish the tasks that God has set before us.

My passions, education and experiences are part of how God has equipped me to accomplish his will in my life. The experiences may not be pleasant, but God allow these situations to pave the way to the future. I am equipped for the present, but God is still equipping me for the future. Each experience chisels away at the block of granite to create the person that God wants to accomplish the predetermined tasks.

Becoming better equipped spiritually involves spending time with God by reading his word, prayer and fellowship with other believers. Becoming physically, emotionally, mentally and educationally equipped may take time, but the most important concept to remember is that God doesn’t want us to wait to start doing his will. He wants us to do it now. A lack of physical, emotional, mental or educational experience doesn’t prevent a person from following God and pointing the world toward Christ.

I Am Wanted

I told my husband once that “I don’t feel wanted for anything more than what I do.” This was at least, partially, true. We had two children, an 18 month old and a 3 month old. Two under two was hard (three under three was better but still not easy), and there were days that I was ready to completely give up. I felt like my life was worthless beyond “serving” my children’s needs. This however, is the complete opposite of how much Christ wants me. There is absolutely nothing I can do to deserve his love, but he wants me. There is nothing I can do to earn his love, but he wants me anyway. Daily, I sin against him, and he still wants me. I am wanted and loved in spite of my weaknesses. He doesn’t need me at all, but the Father in Heaven, sent his son to die for me because he loves me and wants me to spend eternity with him.  Is there any love or desire greater than that? This desire for me is an incredible blessing! I can do nothing to achieve or earn this love, but it is given in abundance.

As a unique, called, equipped and wanted individual, I have the ability to show the world the creativity and passion for life that God has given me. My family, writing, story-telling, gardening etc. are all parts of who God has called me to be. I hope to be able to share those parts of myself with you in a meaningful, exciting and helpful way! Will you join me as we go through life on a mission to live an empowered and fulfilled life?