I was talking with a friend last week. She was going to have to do a couple of things that were difficult a few days hence.
She talked about how she was psyching herself up for it, being firm with herself about how this had to be done.
I finally asked her what she was going to reward herself with, once she’d finished these tasks. Then I explained how I didn’t work well with sticks. Telling myself that I must do something, making threats, being firm, what have you. That just isn’t my way.
Instead, I always respond much better to a carrot. What sort of reward am I going to give myself for getting through the tough thing? What is something appropriate to the effort I’m making?
It isn’t necessarily food or buying something. Oftentimes, doing my dorky victory dance is enough. Sometimes it’s a special TV show that I’ve been saving up to watch.
Though she also never responded well to “sticks” as it were, she’d never thought about using a “carrot” instead.
This is what I mean by knowing your process. How do you best motivate yourself? Is it a future reward? An immediate reward? Or do threats—like putting money in a jar every time you swear—work better?
A while ago I got what I consider bad news about my eyes and the glare that I’m currently seeing. Despite the cataract surgery, I’m going to have to continue to wear glasses. Plus, the glare situation won’t go away quickly. It could take up to six months. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there was a chance that the glare I’m seeing is permanent.
I spent a day being angry. Pissed off at the world about this. Whined about how nothing was going right. While my knee surgery made my knee functional, it has never fully healed. It’s stiff every single day. Sometimes it still swells up or hurts.
Now, my eyes weren’t as they should be, as I’d hoped they’d be.
At some point, probably fall/winter of 2024, I’m going to have to get my foot operated on. The surgeon has already warned me that it won’t necessarily make my foot feel that much better. It’s primarily to fix things now so that later on, I won’t have to have the bones of my big toe fused together.
Nothing is working as it should.
I was completely focused on the glass half empty, as it were.
I did that on purpose. I know myself, know my process.
By allowing myself to be completely pissed off and upset for a day, it meant that in a short while, like a day or so later, I could start to see the positive again. I could start to make progress. I could start to see the glass half full again.
If I don’t give myself the time to be angry about the situation, but instead, force myself to say things like, “It isn’t so bad” and “I’m still better off because…” I’ll end up blowing up spectacularly later.
Because I gave myself the time to wallow in feeling bad, now, when I do start feeling bad about the current situation, it passes quickly. I have plans in place to make it better. I’m diligently working to convince myself that the glare is lessening, to not focus on it or obsess about it either. I’m wearing my glasses. And I’ve found a hypnotherapist who I’ll go to see if the glare hasn’t improved in a month or so.
I’m also well aware of my grieving process. It’s similar to the above, how I have to allow myself to wallow in grief, give myself a day or more to just cry, and introvert hard before I can start moving on.
My writing process is a little more tricky, primarily because every novel is different. For the current novel, I was sick one night, so I came up with the full outline of the novel. It’s moving along really quickly as a result. For the cozy mysteries, I tend to need to know who died, who killed them, and why. Don’t need much beyond that—I’ll figure it out as I’m writing. For other books, I don’t need anything at all. The pre-writing process depends on the book.
And that, too, is knowing my process, that it isn’t the same for every single novel, that it changes regularly.
Do you know your processes?
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