Goals, Deadlines and Motivation

June 23, 2011

I’m doing a happy dance! It’s been a great week and a half here at the Jewett house. My husband finally got his score on a very important professional test that he took back in April. He scored the highest score out of an estimated 200+ people who took the test. My teenage son got a job at Cold Stone Creamery….yum, and I finished the first draft of my manuscript…ahead of schedule…Yay!

It may seem a little over the top, but I’ve been in a daze since I finished my manuscript on Tuesday afternoon. So much of my time has been spent in the world in my head that it feels a little strange to come out of it. I’ve fluctuated between feelings of intense elation and accomplishment and feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. Now that it’s done, I’ll have to put my work out there and risk rejection. Now people are asking me to read it.

I’ve been a published non-fiction writer since I was twenty-one. I’ve said it before—I love writing and will write anything. Any opportunity to write is an opportunity to build my skills, so I’ve written articles, columns, press releases, ad copy, hundreds of resumes, even some local radio and television commercials and a small local cable show. But, of course, I’ve always dreamed of writing fiction…and now I have.

I’m not kidding myself, there’s still a lot of work to do. I’ve started my synopsis, which I hope to finish this weekend, and then there are the re-writes. Unlike some writers, I love re-writes. For me, this is where the real writing begins. The first draft is the place to get all of your ideas organized and on paper, but the re-writes are where you begin to craft your work into something special. The re-writes are where you ruthlessly cut passages that are unnecessary fluff and tighten up your writing, where you find places to add energy and emotion. The re-writes are where you make magic.

My original goal was to finish this manuscript by the end of the summer. Then after attending the Romantic Times Convention I was so motivated that I decided to move the date up and finish by July 9, the day before my 50th birthday. A couple of weeks ago something happened to make me move up that date again, so I’m done ahead of schedule!

Now I plan on finishing this synopsis, beginning re-writes on Monday and as a birthday gift to myself, taking the week of July 10 to take some of the books that have been piling up on my nightstand to the beach and read. Unless I decide I just HAVE to keep working on edits…

So, what are your goals or self-imposed deadlines? What motivates you to reach those goals? What builds your confidence? While I’m sitting here anxiously working on my synopsis—in between spontaneous outbreaks of the happy dance—I wouldn’t mind hearing your motivational stories!

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3 Responses to “Goals, Deadlines and Motivation”


  1. Congrats on finishing your manuscript. 🙂 It’s such a great feeling isn’t it? I always feel a bit bereft when I finish one. After such intense involvement with your characters it feels so strange to not have them reside in your head any more.
    Motivation – hmm at the moment it’s baby Markus due in seven weeks. I really need to finish my current WIP before then, plus the deadline for submitting is 31st August.
    I can’t see a lot of writing happening once baby is here, will be too busy gazing at him adoringly

    Though having said that, I am an expert at sitting at key board with baby attached to boob, so I dare say I will not stay away from writing for too long.

  2. Tari Says:

    First….congratulations on the impending arrival of Markus!! I’d say that’s definitely motivation. Isn’t it amazing what we can do with a baby attached, or sleeping in our arms….or even wiggling in our arms!! I remember those days and weeks after each of our boys were born when we could just lay next to them on the bed staring at them with awe.

    Thank you for the congrats on the completion of my manuscript…it really is an amazing feeling almost euphoric. Good luck with your submission, I hope you’ll let us know what happens with it!!!

    And best wishes for a healthy and easy delivery for baby Markus!!


  3. I’m happy for you, Tari. I hope you ride this positive way to straight through to your next manuscript.

    E

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