Friday, April 27, 2012

Motivation and Commitment in Your Writing Life

Old burblings, reburbled

Below are my notes from a talk by Dr John Barletta, given at the Romance Australia Author Day back in 2010.

They are a bit scatty (sorry), but there is some good information about positive psychology, flow and personality, and his rules to say alive.

Dr Barletta will be talking at the Romance Australia Conference in Brissy in August 2012.  Catch him if you can, you won't regret it. Info here


Dr John Barletta is a clinical psychologist who came to talk to us about Engagement and Flow in your writing life.  These are my notes from his (rather hurried) talk, and I think they give a few starting points where writers can examine their own motivation (or lack of) to write.
  • The problem with wanting to write, but not following through, is not due to a lack of information, rather it's about motivation and commitment
  • Be careful of the shoulds.  "I should do this," "I should do that," but never actually doing them and getting caught up in the fact you haven't done them.
  • To change from an unmotivated writer to a motivated writer, you will go through the Stages of Change
  • Don't fall into the trap of 'learned helplessness', ie, believing you are helpless and therefore not helping yourself.
  • Referred to Marty Seligman and his positive psychology website 
  • How to thrive
    • Happiness comes from a good life (Eudaimonia) which is made up of
      • a pleasant life - emotion (love) and pleasure
      • engagement - competence and mastery
      • meaningful life - meaning and purpose
  • Flow and Personality
    • Flow - or being 'in the zone' when you write, is where you want to be
    • When you are in the flow you feel tireless, serene, ecstatic (ie outside yourself), immersed and impervious to outside events, have greater creativity, confidence in completion of activity
    • There is a personality type which falls more easily into this state of flow than other types, called the Autotelic personality
      • Autotelic personality has high concentration, persistence, low self-centeredness, high rate of performing actions for an intrinsic reason, ie, I write because I must
    • How to develop an Autotelic personality?
      • Set clear goals
      • Become immersed in the activity - mindfulness training can help with this
      • learn to enjoy the immediate experience and immediate feedback
      • "perfect practice makes perfect"
  • Everyone has (at least) twenty four signature strengths - can take a test for these at Marty Seligman website above.
    • Use those strengths brings happiness
  • Rules to stay alive
    • Learn to retreat and advance from every position you take
    • Guard your impotence as your most valuable weapon, ie, be up front about your limits, use them to say NO
    • Face the fact that you will grow old and die
    • Develop a sense of being
    • Laugh at the absurdity of life

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Pip said...

Your "burblings" are good Caitlyn, even though I'm not a writer (apart from my blog) I can use these points to help me look at my own motivation (or lack of) for my quilting and other things in my life.