Monday, July 7, 2008

Motivation

I'm Very Bad at motivating myself to write.

External deadlines work a treat. My book review and Story a Fortnight are in on time regardless, but setting deadlines for myself just doesn't work.

I've tried the write-a-1,000 words a day, which was gradually whittled down to write-any-bloodything-a day to no avail. I've tried 'an hour's writing before you do anything else - even have a wee,' but that didn't get off the ground. In a houseful of people it's impossible to not do something on the way to the PC, laptop or notebook, and something has a horrid habit of leading to something else unrelated to writing.

I thought about getting up an hour earlier to squeeze in some writing, but I need my sleep, dammit, or I'm good for nothing.

I've even bribed myself - i.e. If you write 500 words
you can have a slab of cake or some crumble with custard, or a family sized bar of fruit n' nut (note how bribes are all food-related?) but the very thought makes me so hungry I can't concentrate on writing 'til I've eaten.

I've tried shaming myself by pointing out that I could be writing instead of watching Heroes or The Apprentice, but immediately excuse myself by calling it Research. I've gotten Ideas off the telly before now, I'll have you know.

What about that period between evening dog-walk and watching telly? Well, actually I'm working on that one.

I can see now why people employ Personal Trainers to help them get fit. They probably wouldn't get out of bed otherwise. What I need is a Writing Trainer. A scary woman in army fatigues who'll stand over me and holler, "DROP AND GIVE ME 2000 (words) CLARKEY! NOOOWW!!"

Failing that, I think I need a proper, external deadline. One I can't wriggle out of or put off or ignore. Like the time I stupidly submitted three chapters and got a request for the whole manuscript before I'd even written it. Not that I want to go down that route again! The worst part is knowing I CAN do it.

So why aren't I?

25 comments:

Helen said...

Karen - why don't you come and join out blog http://onehundredwordsaday.blogspot.com/

It has been really useful for all of us, knowing that we have to write our 100 words - then write 'done' in the blog comments. Often that is all I can achieve, but other times it gets you going and you do a lot more.

x

Paul Capewell said...

While I don't have any crucial deadlines as yet, I blame laptops for destroying my ability to multi-task, think, absorb information etc.

"Oh yes," I think, sat on the sofa watching a tv show with 34 tabs open in Firefox, "I'm taking all this in, digesting it for sure."

But no. By the end of it, I can't remember what I've just watched, and nothing I read online has filtered much past the bone of my skull. INFORMATION IS MAKING ME STUPIDER.

...that being said, my computer just taught me that 'stupider' is actually a word. So it's not all lost.

Maddie Moon said...

I know exactly what you mean. Frustrating, isn't it?

Must admit that's why I joined the RNA this year and forked out my £90odd quid, knowing that I would have to submit my manuscript by the end of August. Would something like that work?

Btw, what's happened to your word count thingy? Maybe if that was sitting there staring at you accusingly, you'd feel obliged to add a few words to it!

HelenMH said...

Helen's blog is really working for me as well. I hadn't done any work on the novel for ages, and now I do at least 100 words a day at least 5 days a week. SAF is helping me write a story a fortnight, but sadly I'm not getting there with editing and subbing them. If only I needed less sleep!

Tam said...

I thoroughly endorse 100 words a day. Come join us!

Anna said...

I find the whole NANO concept works for me... tried writing last summer, but without any 50K or bust feeling hanging over my head.

it went nowhere... :)))

but then in November, my butt gets going, and since then, again in April, during script frenzy and now with my writing group.

yet, I also know it's down to WHAT I'm writing. if that grabs me, makes me want to complete it, well...

there you go. LOVED that Doctor Who btw way... WOW! and Nadal was getting my daughter nervous.

"quiet down Mum!" ha ha...

TOM FOOLERY said...

What I need is a Writing Trainer. A scary woman in army fatigues who'll stand over me and holler, "DROP AND GIVE ME 2000 (words) CLARKEY! NOOOWW!!"

I could do THIS. How much are you paying? Tommox

Lane said...

Listen to TX and pay in cake! Your punishment for lack of words will be gnomes.

As a wise woman once told me (wink), perhaps it's fear of success that hampers you. Now GET ON WITH IT and eat whilst you write if you have to!

Here I am, slopping out the advice when I'm just as bad. I have a (writer's group) deadline for Sept 1st and am woefully behind. So ... I'll get on with it and you will too. Ok??

Laughing at Paul's 34 tabs too!

JJ said...

"DROP AND GIVE ME 2000 (words) CLARKEY! NOOOWW!!" Still chuckling at this...

Come join us 100 words a day - it's even working for me! And I'm dreadful.

Mickmouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KatW said...

100 words a day - definitely worth joining!

There are life coaches that specialise in writing. I thought about becoming one - but realised I'd better get myself motivated first! What I did learn was: set goals & reward success. I had two problems - 1. sticking to the goals and 2. getting fat because I was rewarding myself with chocolate for every 10 words. Only joking! - creative life coaching could be an option???

Hugs Kat :-)

Ernest de Cugnac said...

I got tagged and I fear I have tagged you in turn. Come here to learn the nature of your assignment, should you choose to accept it!

Leigh said...

What you need is one of those little writers' chocolate prison thingies. You can get them on eBay (I'm sure I saw one there). You have this little cage, in which you can incarcerate a bar of dairy milk broken into chunks. There's a USB cable that you attach to your computer, and every time you hit 500 words, a signal goes along the cable to open the cage door. You have exactly three seconds to grab a chunk of heaven before it slams closed again.

The only thing is, if you mistime it, it gets your fingers, then you can't write anymore, so don't be greedy.

You saw it here first, okay folks?

Dumdad said...

I could have written this post about myself. Well, I would have done if I'd had time but on the way to write it I had a game of patience on the computer and then it was lunchtime....

Debs said...

I find that 100 words a day is a brilliant help and rarely do just the 100.

I also find that joining RNA is brilliant too (am working on mine now to send it in) as you get a detailed report on your m/s and it has to be in by August so it's a mid-year deadline.

You can do it though, I'm sure of it. If your blog is anything to go by your writing will be wonderful.

KAREN said...

helen - Great idea! I'm on my way over...

paul - Definite case of brain overload. I'm sure I was more focused years ago, growing up as I did without a television OR a telephone! Mind you, I wasn't sure stupider was a word either so I've learnt something too :o)

maddie - I was thinking of joining the RNA again. My first-ever novel was sent there and the incentive was great. I removed the word-counter for now, because it seemed to be going down rather than up!

helenmh - I'm doing well with the SAF, and I think the 100 words might well help me get back on track. Who needs sleep anyhow? (Me actually!)

tam - I'm coming over!

anna - NaNo did help me get things going last year, although I didn't manage the whole 50K. You're right too that it helps if you love what you're writing :o)

tommo - I can only afford thruppence an hour due to the credit crunch, but you can stuff your face with cake if that's any good? :o)

lane - The threat of gnomes would certainly get things moving!

Maybe it IS fear of success, but I'm definitely going to Get On With It as, sadly, it seems to be the only definite route to publication :( Good luck with your 1st Sept deadline. If it was me I'd be thinking, 'oh that's ages away,' until the night before :o)

jj - I'm really believing in this 100 words a day now. I'm going to join!

katw - A writing life coach! Perfect. I wonder if they wear army fatigues...

A goal and reward system does sound ideal - in theory :o)

ernest - Oo-er! I hope it doesn't involve any running. My knee's playing up...

leigh - That made me laugh :o)
Now I'm off to buy one...

dumdad - Welcome! I did tell myself I wasn't going to comment on my comments until I'd written 100 words, yet here I am. D'oh!

debs - 100 words and the RNA both sound like great ways to get things moving - sort of wordy laxatives, if you like...

Yvonne said...

I think the 100 words a day blog is a brilliant idea. For me, as soon as I decided to go back to work my productivity went through the roof. I'm just one of those people who needs a deadline, and if it's too far away I just keep putting it off because there's no sense of urgency.

But if I don't have a deadline I find guilt helps. I tell everyone I'm writing a book so that people keep asking me: "How many words now?" and "When will you be finished?". Sometimes just the thought of those questions have me writing away like a complete workaholic.

Milla said...

what's weird is that it is the thing so many of us want to do - but just don't ... And I don't blame laptops, but I do blame the internet. Look, here I am again hopping about, pretending i'm being useful

Jumbly Girl said...

Time I came clean I think and admit I do have a Writing Trainer. She doesn't wear army fatigues and there's no whip (that would be another story altogether) but she has got me from 0-42,000 words in six months.

They're my words and I could have written them without her but I probably wouldn't have, or at least it would have taken me five times as long.

She's officially my 'mentor' and I'm paying for her services. She's an absolute star and inspires me every time I meet her - she's much more than just a deadline hander outer. If it's something that you think would work for you then I can email you the details.

Meanwhile I suppose I should get round to mentioning her on my blog - I feel a bit guilty about keeping quiet about her for so long :o)

Fiona said...

Perhaps we could form a little club where you pay (me) a forfeit £100 if you don't meet your self imposed deadline.

This might also mean I could retire.

TOM FOOLERY said...

Would whistling Wally work wonders whipping wandering writer with whimsical ways? WOW! WEE!

(13 words. HA! HA!) Tommox

KAREN said...

yvonne - People have gradualy stopped about the book now - which makes me feel guilty and determined in equal measure!

milla - I keep meaning to set Laptop up in another room, but can't resist drifting back here to see what's going on! Mad.

jumbly girl - What a fantastic idea! I can feel an email coming on...

fiona - That plan sounds very clever, but I'm sensing a flaw somewhere!

tommo - You are the Queen of alliteration. I admire and envy you. I tried to come up with 14 words, but bowed out at 4. Tut. :o)

KAREN said...

Actually I've just realised the 100words probably won't work for me as it would be too easy to say I've done it when I haven't! Not that I would of course...

on a small island said...

wow - brilliant advice here! I hate procrastination, and I suffer from it all the time

Can someone tell me what RNA is? I googled it and all I got was a journal of ribonucleic acid, and something tells me that won't really help!

thanks

KAREN said...

Thanks, On a Small Island! The RNA is The Romantic Novelists Association, who have a New Writer's Scheme for budding authors. Definitely worth a Google :o)

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