I am nothing if not consistently inconsistent. At least, that was my excuse. I used it all the time.The ‘I have a family and a job’ excuse was helpful. So was the excuse, ‘I’m a slow writer.’ After I used those excuses, I beat myself up. I was a failure for not being consistent, for not making my writing goals. I went through this a circular reasoning day after day after year. Until I decided to change.
I’ve tried to change many, many times. And I’ve failed many, many times. This time I was determined to make it work. So I did some research—of course! The internet is full of well-meaning but useless advice.I turned to some trusted experts: Marie Forleo, James Clear, Stephan James, Dean Anderson, and Henrik Edberg. From their insights, I’ve compiled a list of things essential for developing consistency.
Marie Forleo lists this as her number one key to being consistent. Being consistent over the long haul is hard work. She encourages you to have a clear compelling vision for what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. Knowing what and why makes it easier to stay focused on your goals.
Oh, boy howdy, did this one resonate with me! Some say I am obsessed with perfect. If you, too, are obsessed with perfect, it’s time to change your mindset.
No one is 100% consistent. Life happens. Surprise and change interrupt every intention. I used to think I must function at 100% or I’m not successful. So when something knocked me off course, I was a failure. I’d curl up in a metaphorical, if not physical, ball and quit trying because I was a failure. How did I overcome this?
Aim for mostly consistent. Choose an achievable percentage that means winning to you—80%, 85%, 90%, 95%. There will be days or weeks when you are 99% consistent, but there will also be times when you’re 80%, or less. Keep your eye on the average.
How many times have you thought that you aren’t motivated enough to do this thing? Stop listening to that! Telling yourself you’re not motivated is giving away your power of choice. Lack of motivation is a way to say you had no choice. It is a choice, you know. But you have to choose to work on your goal every day.
So, when you have a “I don’t wanna—“ day, don’t listen. Train your brain to ignore that voice. Get up and do it anyway. Pay attention to how you feel at the end of the day. And those days when you choose not to be consistent, to do the thing. Pay attention to how you feel on those days, too. Learn from that.
Focus on the process. Love the process. Acknowledge the process is work, but don’t associate the work with negative thoughts. Negative thoughts will beget negative progress. After all, if you do something that causes you pain, why would you choose to keep doing it? I don’t know how many times I have heard a writer say, “I hate to write” or “I can’t write when X happens.” Change your mindset. Associate the process with positive feelings and you’ll want to repeat the process.
Have a Plan
Without a plan, you won’t succeed. Steven Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but schedule your priorities.” How you schedule is up to you. I have an allergy to rigid schedules, so I don’t schedule by hour. I schedule by day of the week.
Dean Anderson recommends building momentum slowly. For example, if you want to exercise more, plan for a ten minute session once a week. Do that for a while (at least three weeks), then increase it to two days a week. After you’ve worked that into your schedule, increase it to include another day or more time each day. The key is to move forward step-by-step.
Many experts recommend that you take 5-10 minutes each evening and make a plan for the next day. It’s a flexible way to schedule your priorities. I know that my days are much more successful when I choose to take that evening time and plan for the next day.
If you have trouble scheduling your priorities, ask yourself Edberg’s three questions. What is the most important thing I can do right now? Is doing this bringing me closer to my goal? Am I keeping things extremely simple right now?
HAVE A PLAN B
Plan B is for those days when life surprises you. This has been my downfall over and over. People who are not consistent usually fail to have a Plan B. Plan B would have saved me angst during our power outage last week. Yup, this is a habit I’ve not had as successful with, but I’m working on it. (Confession: My first thought was that I failed at this habit. I’m working at changing my mindset!)
Life is a work-in-progress. So is being consistent.
Tell me, about yourself. Do you struggle with consistency? What steps do you take to be consistent?
As always, thanks for taking the time to read this blog. And thanks, in advance, for sharing your thoughts.
Credits: When something goes wrong quote and image courtesy of zerotalking.com (TinEye attributes first use of this on August 6,2013 to shadowfax42.soup.io however, I found this on dated July3, 2013 on zerotalking.)
Public Domain image “Success Golden Key “by Animated Heaven courtesy Flickr
￼I’ve been watching the games of 11 Questions and the Lucky 7 Meme flying around the net lately and having great fun reading everyone’s posts. Being the shy type, I just lurked on those wonderful sites, kind of envious that they were having fun, but relieved I wasn’t tagged. Why relieved? Because I have a bunch of amazingly talented friends and worry that my words are pale compared to theirs.
Then it happened. I got tagged. Not once. Not twice, but three times! I am honored by my online friends. Now I HAVE to respond. I just hope I don’t embarrass myself.
The awesome Rachel Funk Heller tagged me for the 11 Questions game. Rachel writes mysteries and inspiring blog posts with fantastic metaphors. Be certain to visit her blog. You won’t regret it.
The rules for 11 Questions:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions on your blog. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.
So here are the questions Rachel asked, and my answers.
1. What is your favorite cruciferous vegetable?
Ok. First I had to look up what the heck cruciferous vegetables were. When I did I got a list: Arugula, brussel sprouts, chard, daikon, mustard greens, turnips, bok choy, cabbage, chinese cabbage, kale, radishes, watercress, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, and rutabagas. What?! Are you kidding me? Those are vegetables? Ok. I admit to have eaten fourteen of those. And in the right mood, I even liked most of them. But I’m more of a root vegetable girl, give me a sweet potato any time.
2. At what age did you realize Santa Claus, might not be real?
Noooo! Tell me it’s not so! I am a Christmas sap. I have never believed the naysayers. I still believe in you, Santa! And I always will.
3. Where is the worst place you have ever made whoopee?
Hmmm. Depends upon what you mean by ‘worst.’ And that’s all I’m saying about that. 🙂
4. What is your favorite rodent?
Generally I keep as far away from rodents as possible. So this was another question I had to do a little research on. Did you know that rodents comprise 40% of all mammals and live on every continent except Antartica? There are more than 2,000 species! Wikipedia has a general information piece that I found interesting. There are all kinds of critters that are classified as rodents that I have had some acquaintance with. Some unfortunate. Some, I recall being quite fond of. So my favorite species of rodent are the cartoon chipmunks: Chip and Dale.
￼Go here for a sample of the cartoon.
5. List your five favorite letters of the alphabet.
REMWB – my DH’s and son’s initials, who else?
6. If you could be a Spice Girl, which one would you be?
So we’re talking Baby, Posh, Scary, and Ginger. I think I’d have to go with Ginger Spice, because of her hair color and the fact that she’s writing books for children.
7. If you were a super hero, what is your super hero name and your special power?
Oh, my gosh, I have to choose just one super power? How? Let’s see . . . Speed? Then maybe I’d have a chance to get everything on my to-do list done. . . but would I be able to savor life if I just sped through it? Strength? No, I just don’t run into a whole lot of problems that would be solved by strength. Healing? Now that would be wonderful, except I’d never be able to touch everyone that needs the healing. . . Shape-shifting? Weather-controlling? Aw, man. There are so many to choose from!
I know! I want the power to be able to have whatever power I need at the moment. You can just call me, The All-Powerful Oz Ozette!
8. What is your Drag Queen name? Take the name of your first pet, and the name of the first street you lived on.
My first dog was a cocker spaniel we had when I was a toddler. His name was Buttons. The name of the first street I lived on is harder. I don’t know what that street name was. The first street name I remember living on was Montevideo. So, that makes my Drag Queen name, Buttons Montevideo. Kind of brings a character to mind, doesn’t it? Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
9. Boxers or Briefs?
Hmmm. I’m more interested in what’s inside of them! 🙂 Now, now. Get your mind out of the gutter! I meant the whole person – really, I did.
10. You’ve just made an embarrassing fast dash into an elevator car, after you make it and the door closes, you are panting and out of breath, you look up and there is your favorite celebrity of all time: what do you say?
Um, believe it or not, something like this actually happened to me.
I was at a World Science Fiction convention in Atlanta. The convention hotel had an open atrium that was maybe 100 stories tall (okay, my acrophobia is showing – would you believe 30 stories?). Glass elevators overlooking the atrium ran up and down on three sides. There was no alternative except the stairs. And 20 some flights of steps were no joke. So I took the elevators and tried to pretend there were solid walls.
It was my first convention where I was a published author and a member of SFWA (the Science Fiction Writers of America). I knew there was a strong possibility that I’d meet famous authors, so I’d prepared. I planned on saying hello, introducing myself as an author, complementing the famed one’s clothing or hair or making a cogent comment about something the famed one had said on the panel, and casually mention a title or two by that author.
Well, I thought I’d prepared.
One day running late for an event, I breathlessly catch the elevator and stand as far from the glass wall as possible. A man stands, in front of the glass, in his swim trunks with a towel draped around his neck. He reads my name badge that proudly displays, member SFWA on it. He reaches out to shake my hand and says, “Hi, Lynette. I’m Alan Dean Foster. Welcome to SFWA.” I don’t even know what I said. I probably sputtered something all fan girl and inane like, “Oh, thank you, so much! I just love all your books,” while inside I was screaming Alan Dean Foster knows this is my first year in SFWA – how does he know that – what do I say – oh, my gosh – he’s in his swim trunks – what do I say? Great trunks? Ack! ALAN DEAN FOSTER – what do I say??? I only hope I wasn’t opening and closing my mouth like a fish blowing bubbles! In my next life, I want to be all refined and cool, able to quote memorable passages and say something devine and intelligent.
11. What is your favorite Halloween costume of all time?
This one’s hard! I’ve had some fun costumes, but I think my son’s first halloween costume has to be tops. He was 8 months old, a chubby, happy baby in a little blue sweat suit with a sweat band around his head and carrying a sweat sock (clean!) for treats. It will always be my favorite.
1. What book or series can you read over and over again without getting bored?
2. What TV show character do you hate and why?
3. If you were a super hero, what is your super hero name and your special power?
4. What is your favorite ear worm (song that gets stuck in your head)?
5. If you could be any character of the opposite sex in any story, who would you be and why?
6. What was the worst job you’ve ever had and why?
7. What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?
8. What mode of transportation (horse, automobile, bus, train, boat, airplane, space plane, etc.) would you never want to use and why?
9. What job/occupation would you never want to try?
10. If you could tweet a warning or encouragement to one person in history, what would you tweet to whom and why?
11. Tell us about one thing on your bucket list.
You don’t have to be tagged to play. In fact, if you would answer one of these questions in the comments, I’d be delighted to get to know you better.
My dear friends, Pat O’Dea Rosin and Ginger Calem, tagged me for the Lucky Seven Meme. These two are mighty bloggers, too. Please visit their blogs. You’ll learn about Irish castles and a young girl’s donation to Locks of Love and a whole lot more. ￼
The rules for The Lucky 7 Meme:
Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP
Go to line 7
Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.
Tag 7 authors, and let them know.
Ok, here’s my snippet from my WIP tentatively titled: Paladina
“You go to Obelia to look for what? Because of the first client who was nearly killed, or for the mountain men, or for something else?”
Rena looked at Ahkim who smiled slighly and pretended an interest elsewhere. She leaned forward. “You and Jace are my family, Leandre, but I need answers.”
“What if the one you seek cannot be found?”
Rena glanced down at her hands resting on the table, then up, meeting Leandre’s look. “I must do this,” she said.
So that’s my snippet, I hope you enjoyed it. Now I tag the following authors: