Monday Motivation

Hands holding coffee cups from above with Monday Motivation written at bottom

Welcome to a new week of motivation, creativity, and resiliency.

What’s Motivating You This Week?

This time of year can be tough, motivation-wise. The holidays are over. Winter’s dug in deep. We feel like hibernating, cozy and snug beneath the covers or in thick sweaters with our books and coffee and hot chocolate and tea.

Or is this just me? Maybe you are the type to jump into the snow to make angels or grab your x-country skis or head to Tahoe (or Sugarloaf if you are in Maine!) for a winter wonderland weekend. In either case, there comes a time when we put the fun and cozy aside so we can get some work done.

Here are my top motivators:

  • Coffee – I have to have it first thing in the morning. This week I’m drinking Green Mountain Blueberry flavored because it reminds me of summer.
  • Music – This week I’m listening to Spanish Guitar Radio on Pandora. Am I the only one using Pandora still? I don’t mind the commercials. The cheerful guitar and rhythms add pep to my day for sure.
  • Current Read – I love to read first thing in the morning while drinking coffee and listening to music. This week I’m reading Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion. I love how she writes and the long-scope narrative. One of my new go-to authors.
  • Reviewing Goals – Checking in on my goals is a big motivator for me. I remind myself what I want to accomplish this week, this month, this year, and five years from now.
  • Manifesting – I’m not big into the woo-woo kind of manifestation, but I believe we can use our subconscious to direct our work and our decisions on a daily basis which then leads us to manifesting our dreams. Allied but distinct from goals, our dreams can be big or small, personal or career, prosaic or brilliant shiny things on the horizon. Taking a moment to visualize a dream can motivate me out of bed and to my desk.
  • Challenges – This is a less fun motivator but very powerful. We all face challenges. Conflicts arise. Changes in our work space or industry disrupts our workflow. Challenges often require immediate attention, but sometimes just nag at us until we can’t take it any more. Like a hangnail. (I’m looking at you “newsletters/mailing lists” and “social media” as marketing must-haves.) If you’ve been following me the last couple of years, you know how marketing is a constant conflict for me. More later this week on newsletters and why I’m not sending them anymore and my distress about what to do instead.
  • Habit – Habit gets me up and to my desk most days. Once I start doing an activity regularly, it becomes easier and easier to incorporate that activity into my day. These habits are highly “tweakable” so they are good tools. Do I want to get exercise into each day? Okay, move writing sooner or later in the day. Do I want to meditate? Fine. Replace a half-hour of YouTube video watching with a meditation app.
  • Deadlines – Do I even need to explain this? I think not.

Pleasurable Activities & Mastery Skills

The preceding motivators can be divided into a couple of categories. Coffee, music, and reading are what I’d call “pleasurable activities.” These help with emotional regulation, which, let’s face it, we all need on occasion when we are talking about work, deadlines, relationship conflicts, and a host of other irritations in life.

Giving yourself over to a pleasurable activity can set you up for a productive and smooth day. You’ve done something nice for yourself. That might allow you to be nicer to others. It helps prevent the dreaded “burnout.” It can be used as a reward for after you’ve accomplished your work for the day. These little pleasures tell your subconscious, “You are worthy of good things.”

Mastery, on the other hand, is about challenging yourself. You find your edge and push at it. Or you simply practice a skill you’ve already mastered in order to remind yourself, “Hey, I’m good at this! What else could I do if I applied myself?”

Goals, challenges, habits, and deadlines (mentioned above) fall into the mastery category. When we decide to learn a new skill or accomplish something, we naturally challenge ourselves, make goals, practice, and sometimes give ourselves a deadline for reaching those goals.

Trying something new and being aware of your improvement really does help with confidence, and confidence spills over into the rest of your life.

One simple mastery skill most of us can accomplish each day is MAKING OUR BED. Now, you probably wouldn’t impress anyone by announcing, “Hey, I made my bed today.” But you know what? When you are struggling with a big problem, sometimes getting this one thing done, and done well (hospital corners, anyone? Throw pillows arranged just so. Blanket folded at the foot of the bed, etc.), keeps you afloat.

So what about manifesting? Is it a pleasurable activity or a mastery skill? Neither? Both?

I think manifesting has more to do with mindfulness, a third concept/tool in our motivation toolbox. I encourage you to take a minute and think about or even make a list of some pleasurable activities and some mastery skills you can use to motivate you this week . . . and beyond.

Writing Update

My developmental editor sent notes last night, and I’m about to read them. I’m hoping there’s nothing too major required to get this book out the door to my publisher.

Marketing (S)Mashup

For some reason, I totally missed the Google/Yahoo marketing email policy changes going into effect Feb. 1. Luckily, I opened a newsletter from a marketing expert I follow TWO DAYS before the change.

I’ve used my free email for all my marketing and personal needs for the past umpteen years. I balked at paying for a domain email associated with this website until I started making enough money to justify the expense.

Unfortunately, Google and Yahoo have decided that’s not gonna fly anymore. They will not deliver my marketing emails from Mailchimp to any gmail or yahoo email inboxes anymore as is…and so I had to hurry and suspend my Mailchimp automatic “thank you for subscribing” email for the time being.

It’s a whole thing.

But part of being a professional author is following best practices and spending money to make money and all that. Costs of doing business, even as a traditional small press author, include the following: hosted website yearly fee; domain yearly fee; domain email yearly fee; email platform fee (if the list hits a certain threshold). These are just the basics. There are also merch purchases (pins and bookmarks and postcards); buying a case of books to sell at a book festival; book festival fee; ads on Facebook; book launch party; travel; conferences; developmental editing; miscellaneous.

I have yet to go over and analyze my total expenditures for taxes this year. I’m avoiding it because this was my first year with a book launch, and I spent more than I ever have.

Why am I sharing this? Because I think it’s important to be transparent about money and publishing. So often authors try to come off as super-successful when the reality is, most authors make way below poverty level. Most cannot support themselves on their earnings. Because many don’t make enough to cover the expenses, writing is more akin to entertainment or hobby on the old budget line because it’s an expense, not an income.

See below stats and realize this is the MEDIAN income.

While the combined income (book income plus other writing-related income) of full-time, established authors (those who had written a book in 2018 or before) rose 21% in 2022 (to $23,329) from 2018, the median income was still below poverty level. Earnings solely from book-related sources increased from $9,997 to $12,000 in that period. – Publisher’s

If you are interested in becoming a writer and have dreams (see manifesting!) of making a living as a published author, I suggest reading articles like the one above. Follow some indie publishing gurus–even if you want to be a small press or Big 5 published author–so you begin to understand the pool you’re diving into.


    1. Hi Debbie! I really think you’ll enjoy the book. I’m going to cozy up with it this afternoon. I’m reading slowly and savoring every morsel.

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