Almost every time I have gone somewhere to write, the self-imposed pressure of being productive and creative has drained my motivation. Last weekend, I went to dust off my novel draft on an island off the east coast of Sweden. But there were no words. No surges of inspiration. No breathless clatter of keys. On Saturday evening, I was on the verge of tears, as frustrated by my lack of discipline as I was by the fact that I was making such a big deal out of it.
Eventually, I listed every little thing I had written over the weekend and I realized there had been words. Just not the words I had been hoping for. I had translated one of my short stories and written two poems, several pages of confused musings and a few novel scenes, but because my accomplishments did not align with my expectations, I had not even counted them.
We forget about positive things far too easily. We memorize criticism word for word while brushing off compliments like eraser dust. We measure the gap between our work and our expectations instead of the progress we make day by day. The simple act of writing down my small accomplishments helped me let go of disappointment and enjoy the rest of the weekend, knowing that every word I wrote was part of my practice.
Do not let your accomplishments fall into oblivion. List them in a notebook, even the ones you do not think matter. Enjoy them. Celebrate them. Because they do matter and if you let them, they will grow with time, both in number and significance.