I used to be the kind of person that liked to prepare for the worst. I told myself it was the best way to look at things because I’d be less upset or put off when bad things happened. I tried to expect my child wouldn’t sleep through the night so if he didn’t I was prepared to lose my precious sleep. When my husband would go camping I’d always expect him home hours after the time he said he’d be home. When writing, I always assume there will be horrid plot holes, awkward dialogue, and drastic character flaws.
But more often than not, I’m wrong. My child rarely wakes up during the night. My husband is usually home from camping within the hour he told me he would be. And my writing always needs revision, but it’s not always as bad as I think it’s going to be.
So I asked myself, what would happen if I focused on what could go right?
Motivation Hack: Focus On What Could Go Right
There is a lot of power in what we think. And I am a firm believer that we look for what we want to find. So, when I tried to prepare for the worst, I would focus on the moments when things did go bad. But it didn’t make me grateful I’d expected the worst. I felt like a negative person. Not only did something unfortunate happen, but I also spent precious time and energy worrying about it.
When I began to focus on what could go right, that’s what I began to see. There was no reason to assume my child would wake up in the middle of the night. So I stopped expecting it and it became easier to fall asleep. When I write I try to tell myself that the story is good and it will work out. You can focus on what could go right in your writing life and in your actual writing.
Focus On What Could Go Right in Your Life
Rather than assume you won’t have time to write or you’ll be too tired after a long day of work, school, or parenting, try the opposite. Expect that you will find time to write. Tell yourself that you will have enough energy to write the next chapter or revise a tricky scene. If you normally write for an hour but only have 15 minutes, expect it to be enough time to make some progress. When you expect good things in your writing life, you will see more of what is going well.
Focus On What Could Go Right in Your Writing
Tell yourself that you will find the perfect word or metaphor. Believe that you will come across the perfect name for your rebellious yet lovable main character. Expect that your plot will be exciting and your characters will come to life. Focus on the parts of your story that are working really well. Focus on the sentences or scenes that you are most proud of. Focusing on the good will help you find more to like about your writing.
Now there will be days when writing is harder than others. There will be days when it’s impossible to expect much. And that is okay. It is normal to have days when it is hard to write. Every writer experiences those days. Focusing on what could go right is more about believing in yourself than expecting yourself to feel a certain way about your writing, or expecting yourself to be a certain kind of writer.
Whenever you need to, let yourself feel and expect whatever you want. But if you focus on what could go right as much as possible, you will be more motivated because you will see more instances where your story is working. Finding the good in your story will motivate you to keep writing.