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Martelle’s Motivation: Therapeutic Isolation

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Someone we like or respect is doing a thing. We want to be like what we admire. So we do the thing too. Often, that isn’t healthy for us.

If something you’re doing is causing you pain, then don’t do it. If it’s challenging you and making you uncomfortable, but it’s helping you toward your goal, then don’t quit. Either way, be honest with yourself. Is the thing you’re doing just for social validation? Your friends are doing it, and if you want to spend time with your friends, then you need to do it too. Right?

I’d love for my wife to play golf, but she tried it and quickly abandoned it—for the right reasons. To do it right would take far more time than she was willing to commit, and that would’ve frustrated her. Perfect reasoning for a lifelong athlete. 

If the thing you’re doing is causing you pain and not challenging you as you strive for your goals, then why are you doing it? By all that’s holy, stop seeking external validation when you’ll never get what you want, and that’ll bring you closer to your real goal.

We see authors jump on bandwagons that aren’t aligned with their goals because the cool kids are doing it, or because someone else is making serious bank. But is that same thing going to fill your soul (and bank account)? Or is it going to suck the life from you for a short-term gain? If your heart isn’t in your writing, the readers will know, and they won’t be buying.

You can write to market—write with the reader in mind—and not leave yourself behind. Tweaking things to help a larger readership appreciate your book doesn’t change the core message or your characters. The best stories are character driven. The other details are shades of gray.

Do you keep doing what your friends are doing? Or will you stay true to your goals? Keep your eye on the goal first, and invest your time in doing what it takes to reach that goal. Don’t do what causes you pain and leaves you bobbing like a cork on a wind-blown lake. 

That brings us back to therapeutic isolation. Sometimes, being alone to contemplate how you’re doing is more important than joining the crowd and being swept away. What if the crowd is right and they’re doing what you need to be doing? Then go in with your eyes wide open, and enjoy the ride. Friends who go a different way can still be friends, unless they demand you go with them when it doesn’t help you get where you want to go. 

Losing friends is no fun. Losing yourself is worse.

Stay true to your goals. Stay true to yourself. Sometimes it’s good to be alone, but when you confidently walk your own path, you’ll find others willing to join you.

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