When I decided to go on my career break, at the end of last year, I told myself I would write a book.
I’ve been writing stories since I was a young girl. I’ve been writing poems ever since I can remember. I write post upon post on Facebook too, and I’ve had blogs since around 2012.
That being said I was not prepared for what it would take to write a book.
I’ve been on my break now for around 2.5 months and in that time I have written two chapters. Two chapters, I might add, that are not complete chapters. They are the beginnings of what could be a masterpiece… once I find the motivation to complete them.
I have tried to understand what it is that lies behind my current lack of motivation. After all, mere months back I was so engaged with the idea and ready to roar.
As I ponder this question, the answer that repeatedly comes to me is that my motivations must be changing.
You see, when I first thought about writing a book, my only objective was just that: write a book. For myself.
I wanted to add it to my bucket list. Be proud of the fact that I was able to accomplish this great feat. However, as time has gone by and ideas for the book have swirled around my head, that simple motivation seems to have changed.
Instead of just writing a book, I now want to write a book that might actually add some value to people’s lives. Rather than write for myself, I now find myself writing for an audience. More than simply wanting to write words on a piece of paper, I now want to have an impact.
Yet with that realisation, and those added goals, has come increased internal pressure too.
For most of my life I have been considered as a person with talent.
A talent for writing, a talent for dancing, a talent for research, complex situations, people… etc. You name the talent and I might just have it!
However, I also know that that talent has always been intrinsically linked to my attitude and motivation.
It’s not been because I have had some superpower enabling me to have a talent for many things. Rather, it’s been that I’ve taken a liking or interest in many things around me and then poured my heart and soul into improving and perfecting my skills.
Yet as the years have gone by, and I have received more and more recognition for my achievements, I have also felt an increasing pressure internally to “perform”.
I have felt the need to not just be good, but to excel at all I do and right now is no different.
On the one hand, this is great, as it has led me to accomplish many things in my life. However, it has also now led me to harbour higher expectations of myself which can be detrimental to innovation.
After all, the higher the expectations are the higher the fear of failure can be… and I’m no longer used to failing. Not failing badly anyways…
As this time out is meant to be about identifying and working on things I love doing, I have been negotiating with myself. I have been asking myself what the real point of the exercise of writing the book is and what I, personally, want to get out of it.
That being the case, I have identified the following structure for determining success.
- want to finish writing A book
- believe writing the book must be ENJOYABLE
- intend to finish it before SEPTEMBER
- give myself the LIBERTY to change my direction (as long as it doesn’t jeopardise the timeline)
I will be honest and say I actually have no idea what the outcome of this project will be.
Originally, it was meant to be one of my biggest achievements during this break. However, increasingly I am finding that I actually value the time I spend in the company of other people much more than being cooped up inside.
I have actually been considering giving presentations on the content, instead of writing about it, as this may suit my style better. It’s quite an exciting thought, although there are some logistics to consider before actioning this.
I have founds that there is a beauty to these evolving thoughts though. I can’t quite describe it.
The uncertainty of any given outcome can be slightly frustrating. Especially when considering the fact my life has been extremely goal driven up to this point.
However, letting go of the strictness in favour of creativity is actually something I am finding very liberating too. Although it is causing me to question much of what I’ve known in the past, it is also letting me experience a different way of life too.
Considering I told myself I would be looking to lead a different lifestyle during this time out, I can’t help but think that’s a good thing at this point.
Let’s see what happens further down the line!