As the author of a mystery series–a relatively solitary occupation–I can’t afford to let my inspiration ebb away. I’m constantly looking for new sources of motivation, the confidence to tackle new projects, an trying to keep negative thoughts (I’ll never sell a book again) at bay.
Here are a couple of ideas to keep the inspiration flowing and the motivation high. Go get a couple of empty jars, some paper to cut into slips, and a pen. Now. Really.
The Small Victories Jar
This is a variation on one of the rituals I wrote about in a New Year’s blog post. Keep a jar somewhere you’ll see it every day before you go to bed, along with some slips of paper and a pen. Before you go to bed write down at least one small achievement for that day. Maybe you resisted temptation and didn’t buy a latte. Maybe you didn’t make a cutting remark to that co-worker. Maybe you got that report done on time.
When you are feeling blue, read the slips of paper that have accumulated. You will realize that you have more strength than you thought.
The Memory Jar
This suggestion for a jar comes from www.shoegirlcorner.com. (She’s nice. Read her blog.) Her suggestion is to write down good things that happen and put them in a jar. Date the slips of paper and write a short description of the event. To take it a step further, have everyone in the family contribute. Pull the papers out and read them on special occasions or anytime you are feeling nostalgic.
The Pay It Forward Jar
The December edition of InStyle magazine had this tip in its Entertaining section. When you are hosting a party, fill a jar with notes that contain a suggestion for random acts of kindness. As your guests depart, let them each pull out a suggestion they could do the next day, such as “Let someone else go first in line” or Compliment a stranger.”
Take this one step further by pulling out a suggestion yourself once a week or so. See if what they say about acts of kindness rebounding on the giver comes true.
The Purposeful Tip Jar
When I was young, my family held formal meetings where we made group decisions about things like buying a new television. We took turns recording the minutes (years later my mother and I found my sister’s entries in the meeting notebook and laughed until we cried) and all contributed to the fund for big purchases. The lesson about incremental saving was a powerful one.
Start saving change with a specific goal in mind. It is amazing how much change we all have lying around. Gather it up, put a label on a jar and give it a purpose. Not only will it ensure that pennies don’t get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner but when you have saved enough for the item, you can put a new entry into the Small Victories jar!
Do you have a suggestion for creating inspiration? I’d love to hear it!
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I'm author Carmen Amato.
I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.
Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.