Yelena Casale writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine and came to New York at the age of 13, which gave her a great perspective into two very different cultures. Yelena believes that the world of vampires, shifters, angels and demons is a wonderful way to escape and let her imagination run wild. In Yelena’s ideal world, she would be a full time writer and travel as much as possible, experience various cultures. She’s also a black belt and an instructor in shotokan karate. She is represented by Literary Counsel.
As I’m sitting down to write after a 2-hour karate training tonight, my thoughts turn to an article I once read in Women’s Health Magazine. The article’s title is “True Grit or Determination: How to Get What You Want” and you can read it by following this link: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/success-secrets?page=1.
The advice in the article can be applied to absolutely any area of your life, any goals you have. For me, it also resonates strongly with what my Sensei (karate teacher), also known as my husband, always says: people can be smarter than you, stronger than you, faster than you, more athletic than you, etc.. However, do not let anyone outwork you. Perseverance, hard work and keeping your goals always in front of you is what will put you ahead of others, and will make you successful. Angela Duckworth, Ph.D. defines “grit” in the article as “working strenuously toward challenges and maintaining effort and interest despite failure, adversity, and plateaus."
This concept makes perfect sense for writers.
The article also addresses the issue of how to keep going and not lose sight of the goal, even when things get tough and motivation starts failing. When you hit a snag in the road, sometimes it’s seems much easier to just give up. The snag can be anything from being in physical pain and being exhausted from physical workouts to being disappointed by a rejection of a query for the novel you just finished. Even being too busy with other things, and not having the energy to sit down and write some days can be a major downer.
So how do you keep the goals firmly planted in front of you and keep marching forward to achieve them? There are a number of ways to help with that. Here’s a few:
- Visualization. Visualizing the end result of your goal is a great motivator. For an athlete, it’ll be visualizing finishing a race or getting that coveted black belt. For a writer, it could be seeing your book on the shelves of a bookstore (or for sale on Nook/Kindle), going on tours or just holding your finished manuscript in your hands.
- Setting little goals to achieve the big ones. Big goals are often frightening because they seem too far away and well…just big. Setting smaller goals, not only brings us closer to the major ones, but also gives the satisfaction of achievement throughout the whole journey. This feeling of satisfaction with achieving one small goal makes you feel so good that you want to get to the next one just to have that feeling again. So make small word count and/or time spent writing goals every day. Expand them a little every day, and eventually it’ll be hard not to do it!
- Talk yourself through negative thoughts and plateaus. Cultivate a more positive attitude. And if you have a hard time with that at any point, use the “fake it ‘till you make it” attitude. It’s been proven that if you smile when feeling gloomy, you will eventually start feeling happier. This can be applied to cultivation of positive attitude in all things.
- Keep visual reminders of your goals. This can include looking at books of your favorite writers and knowing that you can be someone’s favorite writer one day as well. Keep any positive feedback on your work in a folder where you can easily access it anytime you need a little pick-me-up. Post pictures of scenes you want to write or that motivate you in any way.
Besides working very hard, passion is of the outmost importance to the success of achieving any goals, including writing ones. Do whatever you have to do to make sure that the spark of that passion is always present.