Last updated on July 12th, 2022 at 11:47 am
I stay motivated to take the steps needed to work on writing my memoir when I remember my worst job of all time. I was fresh out of college, working as a temp. I’d been placed at a manufacturing company where I did data entry.
The company manufactured items for public bathrooms: wall partitions, soap dispensers, hand driers, and receptacles for used tampons.
It took all of my willpower to not laugh out loud during my job orientation when I was shown a dramatic video featuring larger-than-life toilet-paper dispensers, soap dispensers, and tampon receptacles rotating against a dark background, set to classical music.
Ah, the booming crescendos!
The job had a strict dress code —- including no bare legs —- and I was scolded for not wearing stockings in August. The hours were 8:30 to 5:00 and you were forced to punch in and out on a time-clock. I once emerged from the ladies’ room at 5:05 to find that everyone had vanished in the ten minutes since I went in. All the lights were off. I got fired after three weeks because I’d clocked in five minutes late a few times.
Now, I am grateful for that job that bored me silly. Because it helps me stay humble, while simultaneously reminding myself how far I’ve come, whenever I see my former employer’s logo in public bathroom stalls (which is often).
Things Could Be Worse
Theoretically, I could still be there now, doing work I found mind-numbing, living by the clock, and getting hit on by my recently divorced boss. Or, I could be sniffing armpits like the ladies in the picture . . .
Instead, I’m a consultant and a freelance writer. I’m writing my first memoir, which is a lifelong dream. Reaching for a dream can be hard sometimes, or scary. It’s important to find ways to keep the faith.
One Milestone At A Time
I do this in part by ticking off “milestones” along the way that help me track the progress I’m making. I checked off a big one last week. I handed my first book chapter to my writing coach. Soon, I’ll get it back, marked up with my coach’s comments. Exciting and scary. I’ll find out if she thinks I’m on track to achieve my vision for my book.
Am I off to a good start? Can I pull this off?
Small Bite-Sized Goals With Deadlines
It helps me to set small goals along the way. For example, I aim to write 6 to 7 new pages a week to reach my target of 50 pages every two months.
This means writing regularly, whether I feel like it or not. Sometimes I’m inspired, sometimes not so much. Some days I simply edit what I’ve written before. Other days I force myself to write something new, anything, even if it is dreck — knowing I can edit in the future.
Progress is incremental. Setting milestone targets — and hitting them — can be very energizing.
You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby
If you’re feeling discouraged about achieving any dream — even writing your memoir like me, why not think back to your own worst job to reflect on how far you’ve come (I’m sure there are many horror stories out there to eclipse mine).
And, set some manageable “milestone targets” to write that memoir you’ve always wanted to write.
Lisa Powell Graham
Lisa P. Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, TED motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning in their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on her website or watch her TEDx speech on YouTube.
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