What helps keep you going?

When I get a challenge, I'm motivated to win it.  Or maybe I should say I'm inspired to win it.  I always begin with good intentions, but the motivation runs out with the initial burst of inspiration.  It's when the hard-work, grit-your-teeth-and-do-the-drills part kicks in that I usually give up because there's such a gap between what I'm wanting and what I'm doing that it seems almost impossible to make it.  I recently heard this quote from Ira Glass that backed up this divide.

So where's all my fighting spirit?  Let's face it, there is no fight.  I'm like the reluctant dragon who wants to sit on the hillside writing poetry, inviting people over for tea, and go retreating into my cave when the possibility of a fight shows itself.

Now I have my schedule organized to provide myself with the time I need to improve my art.  I have the moral support of everyone in my household.  So why can't I wake myself up and get it done?

The answer came today from my two greatest teachers, my children.  My Thinker and my Happy Cricket have been working SO hard to learn the violin.  And today, they each had their first breakthrough.  All of a sudden that inspiration to play was back and they happily skipped away from the instrument dreaming of the next time they pick it up and how wonderful it will be.  And yes, chances are they will still sound like scraping nails on a chalkboard the next time they play and need twice the encouragement if another breakthrough doesn't hit immediately.  

But I have a strategy for them!  SuperMom to the rescue!  I have a plethora of games and creative practicing ideas to help them over the curve.  By focusing on the game, they forget about that gap between what their fingers do and what their mind expects to hear.  And they practice and get one tiny step closer to the very obtainable short-term goal in front of them.  

So where's my goal? My strategy? Where's my game to make practicing fun?  Having a drawing challenge was fun!  But now it's starting to feel like drills again.  As my mom would say, "Time to get outside! Physical activity!  Get your blood moving!"  Maybe I need to follow her advice and go rake up some leaves. . . . .