On Saturday, 4th Feb, I attended the Motivation Masterclass: Staying Motivated and Beating Procrastination All Year Long by Bekki Hill hosted by SCBWI British Isles.

There were many familiar faces, but also some new faces, which was exciting. We all settled in at the Bullfrog, our usual haunt and chatted whilst Bekki set up her equipment. We had been warned to “bring along a lot of paper as you will be working hard”. I broke out a new moleskine for this. I know, any excuse.

Bekki started us off on our first slide.

First Slide

It looked daunting, but it formed the framework of her class.

One of the first things she did to get us started is to make a list of our goals, dreams and ambitions. She gave us around ten minutes to come up with as many as we could, spread across various aspects of our lives – we covered writing/illustrating; career; finances; leisure; travel; personal growth; family; health; etc. I managed 56 and out of that 56 about 30 of them were related to my writing.

My mind boggled.

I know some on the group managed near a hundred goals and ambitions but I found it really difficult to come to terms with thinking so big. And it would seem I’m not the only one. How often do we sit and think about US, ourselves? What we would love and want, for real in our lives? Not very often, I’d say. So thinking about something like this, even as an “opener” excercise really brought it home, how little time we spend on ourselves and what matters to us.

We did a set of affirmations by choosing our top three goals/dreams which again was very uncomfortable making, before we moved on to concentrating solely on our writing. Bekki had us speak to assigned partners about values and again, deeply uncomfortable questions were asked.

What do you enjoy about the act of writing?
What do you enjoy about being a writer?
What is it you want to achieve with your writing?
What is important about what you write?
What is important about being a writer?

Again, all of us were goggle-eyed. These were of course on the surface easy enough questions to ask, and no doubt we ask them of ourselves often, but how many of us actually answer them and do it truthfully?

My partner for the class (Linda) and I turned to each other in this helpless way and blinked. Then we bent to the task of answering these questions. It was really interesting to see how closely our answers correlated and how we could encourage the other to be more honest, more open about these big asks.

Bekki touched on Habits – helpful and unhelpful habits and I think almost everyone agreed that the biggest unhelpful habit was the internet, allowing us access to Facebook / Twitter / Email and Bekki gave us strategies how to compartamentalise these unhelpful habits and how to deal with them. We also got to work with our partners again to discuss our habits and it turns out Linda is a giant star, for turning one of my habits (my love for research) into a possible positive thing.

Bekki

The day wound down with Bekki taking us through a very strict self-talk and addressing external influences and how important it is for us to make time for ourselves and our writing and to ensure that we start using a diary, giving ourselves deadlines and making sure that our nearest and dearest remain aware of our private writing times.

All in all, it was a very useful workshop and class. And frightening and a bit of an eye-opener. I learned loads and realised that although I am luckier than most, with Mark understanding about my writing, being an aspiring writer himself, that my journey to self-actualisation (how American, darling!) is still a loooong way off. And I better get climbing otherwise it is never going to happen.

Do visit Bekki’s site and if you’re on twitter, she is @bekkiwritecoach.  Her book – Coach Yourself to Writing Success – is the kick in the pants we all need occasionally, with lots of common sense advice, that most of the time we’re too wrapped up to think about, but also with a suitcase full of tools to overcome things like procrastination, self-doubt and fear.

14 thoughts on “Motivation Masterclass

  1. Glad to have been of help. And yes, I’m keeping to my resolution too – just in case you question me closely about it next time we meet up at SCBWI!

    Thoroughly recommend Bekki’s session.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Liz! I wish I could have gone to the workshop. It sounds as though you got a lot out of it. It’s good though, as you say, uncomfortable to ask all those deep questions but I think we all need to do it.

  3. Thanks so much for posting this! Reading it is so motivational. I hope going to Bekki’s class helped you as much as reading your report has helped me! Well, at least it’s given me a shot of courage to finish my edits for today when I’d rather be on twitter (gasp!). Love your blog!

  4. Really interesting post. I think I might sit myself down and try to answer some of those questions, and I’ll definitely be putting Bekki’s book in my wishlist. I don’t think the Internet is my biggest bad habit (don’t laugh!) – my biggest bad habit is not starting; the Internet is just the current manifestation of this.

    Thanks for blogging this Liz!

  5. This sounds really useful. Especially when you consider how many goals are connected to writing and then compare it to how much time you actually spend doing it. A little frightening I fear.

  6. Thanks all! I recommend the class wholeheartedly and the book too. It’s the small things that make you sit up and notice the bigger scheme of things – that’s what this workshop showed. It also scared the life out of me…but in a good and throughful way.

  7. Fabulous post, wish I had been able to go though like Candy I think I might have been a bit scared. Am also very impressed that you got out a new moleskine for the event!! This is really useful and am also going to try and answer the questions.

  8. This sounds like such an interesting class. I think I’d have probably ended up cowering in a corner… but in the best possible way.

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