Today our Rebelles from the Heart comes from Melonie Faith Johnson, whose manuscript Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot is a contemporary romance category finalist. Melonie has some great tips for achieving your goals, so read on!
Over the last year or so I’ve become “that person” – the one who posts about her workouts every ten seconds on social media. Okay, not every ten seconds. But daily…or at least most days. And if those posts make you roll your eyes, I get it. I used to hate them too. But the gym I go to participates in charity hashtag campaigns, so if kids in need can get books, coats, food (this month it’s shoes) all from a simple check-in hashtag…then yeah, I’ll risk being annoying. And now it’s become routine for me to post, as much a part of my day as hitting the gym in the morninghas become a habit. And that’s what I’m here to chat about today: habits.
#girlswithgoals is a hashtag I often use on my annoying gym posts – and it’s true – I’ve got goals. Big goals and little goals. Baby-step goals I know I’ll probably be able to nail in a month and pie-in-the-sky goals I’m not sure I’ll ever achieve. Both are important. Both are useful. Both give me something to strive for each day I get up and put on my workout clothes and head out the door. Setting goals for myself provides the motivation I need, but going after those goals day in and day out can be a little harder…this is where habit comes in.
There are mornings when I don’t feel like going to the gym, where I’m sore or cranky or bloated or all of the above. On those days, I still go, because it has become such a part of my day that not going actually feels worse. I crave checking off that box for the day. Literally. Inspired by Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity tracker (http://lifehacker.com/281626/jerry-seinfelds-productivity-secret), in addition to my annoying hashtag loaded check-ins, I check off each day I exercise on a calendar. And I don’t want to break the chain—I must not break the chain!
But productivity charts aren’t just for workouts, as this Lifehacker blogger describes (http://lifehacker.com/5886128/how-seinfelds-productivity-secret-fixed-my-procrastination-problem), using the “Don’t Break the Chain” method can help track and achieve all kinds of goals…from learning a new skill to decluttering closets to WRITING A BOOK (see, there was a point to all that).
Like working out, writing requires discipline. Sure, there are days I’m motivated by a great idea or a new scene and can’t wait to dive in to the story. But there are plenty of days that I’d rather do anything but write, and will create all kinds of obstacles to sabotage my writing time. Again, this is where habit becomes important. Doesn’t matter if I want to write, doesn’t matter if I feel inspired, I need to get my butt in the chair, put my hands on the keyboard and earn my checkmark for the day. As the great Nora has infamously said, the key to writing is putting your “ass in the chair.” Anyone who has tried this knows it’s easier said than done. And even when I do manage to get my booty in the chair, I end up tumbling down a social media rabbit hole.
That’s where the Golden Heart and my Rebelle sisters come in. As an unpublished writer, the deadlines created are often self-imposed, and easy to ignore. To enter the Golden Heart contest, a manuscript MUST be complete, which is great motivation to finish the darn book. As for my fellow Rebelles, they share when they are writing and set up word sprints and plan writing times and keep tabs on each other’s progress. Knowing they are putting in the time on their stories makes me want to do the same. Like one of my trainers coaching me to lift a little heavier or do a few more reps, seeing Rebelle writing posts pushes me to get moving on my manuscript. So while my workout check-ins may or may not motivate others to exercise, I know my fellow Rebelle wordcount check-ins encourage me to get my ass in that chair and actually write. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some checkmarks to earn.
Melonie Johnson is a Star Wars junkie and Shakespeare groupie who quotes both Yoda and the Bard with equal aplomb. She loves dark coffee, cheap wine, and expensive beer. She met her future husband in that most romantic of places—the mall—when they were teenagers working in stores across the hall from each other. After earning her Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University Chicago, Melonie taught high school English and Theatre for several years. Now that her two redhead daughters are old enough to use the microwave (they only lit it on fire once), she devotes her time to writing and moonlights as an audiobook narrator under the pseudonym, Evelyn Eibhlin. A two-time Golden Heart® finalist, Melonie is represented by Pamela Harty of the Knight Agency. Visit her at meloniejohnson.com and find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MelonieJohnson.