There are many ways a writer can stay motivated.
Setting small goals and meeting them is one example. However, setting big goals also can be helpful.
Setting large goals for the year, for example, can help you to think about the big picture. And, once you meet those goals, it can be useful to think about all you have done so that you can develop motivation to move forward.
The trick is to set reasonable goals and reasonable expectations for meeting them.
The end of the year is a great time to go back to your big goals and see all that you have accomplished during the year.
As I was looking over what I did for last month, I was a bit down because most of what I did was to continue to revise works in progress. It can be hard to see the progress I am making when all I have to say for November is that I revised a chapter and an article and they are still unfinished.
To pull myself out of that slump, I decided to look at all I have done over the course of 2013. And, it turns out I have some major accomplishments to report.
I have been working on a fifteen-chapter textbook for just about three years. I wrote the first chapter in early 2011 and have been moving forward slowly ever since. This was the year for the final push and I managed to write the final six chapters this year! That is 48,000 new words. In addition, I returned to the reviews and made final revisions on each of the chapters. The final deadline for the textbook revisions was December 6, so the book is now officially in production. The book will be out in August 2014, and I will certainly celebrate that. (If you are curious, I have details about the book here.)
I also have been working on a book on deportees for a while. I completed the interviews in August 2010. I finished going through the transcriptions, writing memos and doing the preliminary analyses of the interviews in January 2011. I have been writing up the chapters ever since. In 2012, I wrote the Introduction and the first three chapters. In 2013, I wrote chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7 – four new chapters or about 40,000 words!
In addition to those two books, I have also been working on articles and book chapters for edited volumes. I wrote and submitted one book chapter and one article based on the interviews with deportees. I also wrote a rough draft of another article. Those three pieces overlap somewhat with the book manuscript, but are not exactly the same.
While writing this, I looked back to see what I did in 2012, and my productivity was similar – five textbook chapters and four chapters of the deportee book in addition to a few shorter pieces. It is good to know that I can maintain a consistent writing pace. It is also remarkable to me that my productivity for 2012 and 2013 were so similar. Perhaps I really have found my writing groove! As I mentioned last year, I have been able to accomplish all of this writing by maintaining a consistent writing habit of two hours a day, five days a week.
I find looking back over my accomplishments to be rewarding. It also gives me energy to move forward and keep up momentum for next year.
Now that I am finished with the race textbook, I can focus all of my energies on revising and submitting the book on deportees. There is no doubt that I can be finished with the revisions by Spring 2014. This is fantastic, as I am ready to be done with it!
Once I finish the deportee manuscript, I can work on the three articles I have drafts of. And, then I can move on to my next project!
What about you? Did you make goals for 2013? Have you met them?