I’m (once again) doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. It’s a good mix of practical, magical, and thought-based exercises to help accomplish specific and significant change in your own life. If it’s relevant to your interests, give it a try!
Instructions:As we enter into the second phase of the Experiment, I think it’s time that we do some navel gazing. […] What are your reasons for working on your goals? What makes you eager to work on them?
Tarot Card: Six of Fire
What motivates me is pretty basic. Success – even incremental success – is what helps me keep moving towards my goals.
“Success” can be having a poem accepted for publication. But it can also be writing a poem that I’m proud of. It can be drafting another scene in the YA novel. It can be sorting out the cabling in a knitting project. It can be extra paid work landing in my lap right when I need it. It can be someone stopping me in the street to tell me that the poem I read at That Event years ago was, and remains, meaningful for them. It can be surprise free beer at a restaurant or a co-worker turning up with a muffin or a frappacino for me out of the blue. It can be getting The Nod from a butch of a certain age or seeing a genderqueer teenager light up when they see my bi pride button or one of my art-school students jump at the chance to talk about witchy stuff with me (meaning: with someone else, who happens to be me… but still). It can be a really good batch of fermented veggies. It can be someone saying yes to a date or a scene. It can be A Sign in the form of half a dozen horoscopes all telling me variations on the same piece of timely encouragement.
My other motivator is guilt. Or possibly shame.
Sometimes this is useful. I feel bad, or get down on myself, for not doing XYZ, so I get off my butt and do it.
Right. So I wrote the above stuff literally two months ago, to the day. And, full disclosure, I’m writing this, right now, while I’ve got a grey blanket thrown around my shoulders like the world’s fuzziest toga, having spent the entire day eating cookies, chocolates, and paté on crackers while sucking back V8 like it was going out of style. (Or like I just had a Solstice party and need the fridge jenga to ease up a bit).
Which is to say that, while drinking from stem-ware definitely makes me feel fancy, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my glamour game is particularly on point right this second.
The above stuff is all true. I am motivated both by guilt/shame and by success. And I’m trying to be more motivated by success than by guilt and shame, because negative self-talk is bad for me and I’m trying to do less of it. Besides, guilt and shame – and, oh hey, money stress – are kind of hard on the creative process. At least they’re hard on mine. I wind up writing the same mediocre… thing… about fear-and-uncertainty fourteen times and never actually come up with an actual poem. Which, P.S.: I’ve barely written, what, two poems in as many months? The moon has waxed and waned and waxed again, and the “creation” section at the end of each lunar cycles post has me grasping at straws. I spend 10+ hours/day sleeping, and it’s not like I have a particularly tiring life.
Basically, I need to take a look at the chapbook pieces that haven’t found a right-of-first-publication home yet, and start sending them out again. Getting a Yes from somebody will probably help me feel motivated from a success standpoint.
Miss Sugar’s prompt post (linked, above, under Instructions) mentions a degree of motivation stemming from achievable micro-goals. For me, this means hitting up #novemberotic prompts over on instagram, pulling out my tarot decks, and otherwise finding ways to kick-start whatever poems need to be written. (This is actually how I ended up with 30+ glosas, aka half a full-length manuscript – written. I needed to put some parameters around my poetry in order to get it to show up).
Which I guess means I have my marching orders.