My last post delineated three workable steps to getting, and staying, motivated. So simple a caveman could do it, right? But we’ve evolved from Neanderthals (at least physically!), and there are so many darned distractions and claims upon our 24 hours each day it’s far to easy to let our focus and determination take a back seat.

For me, the answer came in the form of a little (ok, a lot) of self-discipline and an unalterable schedule. No exceptions that didn’t include blood on the floor, so to speak.

I’ve proclaimed my goal: “I’m writing a novel.” I affirm my goal with positive self-talk: “You’re an amazing writer already, and writing a novel is just one word at a time—just like everything else you’ve ever written!” And I reward myself often: “A thousand words already today! Let’s go sit on the beach in the sunshine and read a magazine!”

Ok, so that reward probably isn’t the one that’s going to help me get any more writing done that day, but it’s baby steps, after all!

But what’s really made a difference, and what’s moving me closer and closer to my goal is that I’ve set a definite work schedule and I’m sticking to it. Every morning I get up, get my green tea, skim my emails and Facebook (10 minutes, tops!), and then open up my writing files. (A key here is that I close my email and Facebook apps.)

Sometimes I warm up by working on this blog. Sometimes I have an editing job to tackle. But most days—probably 4 of 5—I go straight to my novel project and whack out my thousand word goal.

One of the things I didn’t include in the three-step process yesterday was the idea of breaking a large goal down into smaller, more easily manageable bites. “How do you eat an elephant?” asks the old joke. “One bite at a time.”

So a thousand words is my daily goal, five days a week. At that rate, the first draft will be done in just a couple months. I’m planning a “first draft party” as my reward for that accomplishment. Stay tuned!