…by Prill Boyle

To be successful in any endeavor, you have to stick with it. And that\’s a lot easier to accomplish when you\’re doing what you enjoy. Passion is the purest fuel around. But even when you\’re doing what you love, it\’s easy to lose steam. Whether you\’re an aspiring novelist like me, an established businesswoman, or an astronaut, it takes an enormous commitment of time and energy to keep a dream moving forward.

So if you\’re in danger of stalling, here are a few things to try:

Divide your goal into smaller steps. When I complained to my agent that I\’d been barraged with visitors and didn\’t have time to write, he didn\’t buy into my excuse. “No matter how many guests show up at your door, you\’ve got to show up at the page,” he said. “Write at least one a day and you\’ll have 365 by the end of the year.” Following this sage advice, I started to get transported into my novel again. (It\’s a saga about a late bloomer.) The sense of accomplishment I felt each night when I went to bed propelled me to get up the next morning and write again. I now have a 411-page first draft.

Take a class. Learning something new is inherently exhilarating-and there is always more to learn about any subject. I recently signed up for an eight-week fiction-writing workshop. The class disciplines me to keep working on my second draft (we read aloud each week) at the same time it helps me sharpen my novel-writing skills.

Share your expertise with others. Just as there will always be people who know more than you about your field, there will be others who know less. When you reach out and give someone the benefit of your experience, it not only makes you feel good about yourself but has the added bonus of forcing you to synthesize your knowledge and reflect on why it is important to you.

Join a support group. There\’s nothing like a small, well-chosen group of like-minded people to hold you accountable for your progress and provide the encouragement you need. I\’m convinced that I wouldn\’t have accomplished all I have in recent years without the support of the three other women in my Creative Women\’s Business Group.

Any of the above will help if you truly wish to keep heading in the same direction. But what if you\’ve stalled not because you\’ve lost momentum, but because you\’ve run out of gas? It\’s important every step of the way to ask yourself if you\’re doing what you really want. Even if you\’ve always loved piloting rockets into space, there\’s no shame in changing course if you\’ve stopped enjoying the journey.

Prill Boyle is the author of Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women (Emmis Books, 2004). To read more inspiring stories, tips, and anecdotes, go to Prilll\’s blog at http://defyinggravitynow.blogspot.com.