If there’s ever a contest for the world’s most easily distracted author, I will be invited to…hey look – a butterfly.
To counter this, I rely upon the fact that I’m very good at manipulating myself.
(Stop snickering, that’s not what I meant. OK, it was what I meant, but it’s not the point of this blog).
Viewing a novel as one huge block with the ending as the sole light at the end of the tunnel is a surefire way to get discouraged and spend the day shopping for python-pattered clogs on Amazon.
But if I set smaller goals for myself with rewards for achieving them, I find I’m a whole lot more motivated.
Just yesterday, I spotted a site called Romance Yardsale. It was created by authors Bria Quinlan and M.G. Buehrlen to raise funds so they can attend the national convention of Romance Writers of America.
|The object of my desire from romanceyardsale|
“Want!” screamed Flaky Writer Tawna.
“You have to work for it,” replied obnoxiously smug Responsible Writer Tawna.
So I decided that if I finished chapter three in LET IT BREATHE by the end of the day, I would reward myself with that shirt.
This may not sound like much, considering I was already in the middle of the third chapter, but the first 50 pages of any novel are always the toughest for me. I’ve been noodling these early scenes for weeks now, and was quickly nearing the point of deleting everything and writing about turtles.
Finishing the first three chapters is a big deal for me, and I deserve to be rewarded for it.
And so I wrote. And edited. And you may be surprised to hear it, didn’t have a single glass of wine until I achieved my goal (which one could argue is counter-productive when writing a book set in the wine industry, but I wanted that shirt, dammit, and nothing was going to distract me).
I placed my order at 9:52 p.m. last night, and now I will spend the next week neurotically clicking “track package” until my shirt arrives.
Or at least I’ll allow myself to do that as a reward for finishing a paragraph or a page or whatever I set as my next little goal.
That’s the key, really – they don’t always have to be big goals or big rewards. Sometimes even tiny things can motivate me.
“I want to floss my teeth!” Flaky Writer Tawna will say in the middle of a bit of dialogue isn’t flowing the way I want it to.
“Finish this scene, and you can have your minty-fresh Glide,” Responsible Writer Tawna will counter.
I can likewise be motivated by snacks, bathroom breaks, and of course, wine.
What are your tricks for motivating yourself as a writer? Do you set big goals or small ones? Do you bribe yourself with rewards?
Please share in the comments trail. I have to go click “track package” now.