3 Types of Motivation and 1 Type of Irony

20150616_071256Life with a Little is the busiest I have ever experienced. College got pretty busy, but my homework didn’t wake me up at night unless I had a high-pressure exam the next day. So now that I’m sleeping much less than I would like (thank you, Little’s lower central incisors) I have set some pretty high goals for myself: finish the second draft of my novel. Soon. If I’m going to succeed, I need as much motivation as I can get. Thankfully, I have three types:

Now or Never

One good thing about being so busy is that my mindset is always “work now, or else you’ll never get to it.” There is no room for procrastination. It’s ironic, but I just might get more written now that I don’t have free time.

My goal is to finish editing my first act by New Years (or by Christmas if at all possible) and the next two acts by March. If I don’t work on it every day, I will fall behind. So I can at least take some time during Little’s naps or while he plays happily in the morning. There is time, I just need to find it and steal it away from other tasks like dishes and laundry.

Competition

These goals are also part of a competition. Even though ‘now or never’ gets me going pretty well, my internal motivation isn’t strong enough to withstand sleep deprivation. To battle this, I am competing with a writing group friend. We both set the same two due dates and we’ll trade our works by the end.

Expectant Readers

As if this wasn’t enough, another friend demanded that I let her read the novel at the end. If I didn’t trust her to handle my novel well I wouldn’t even consider sending it to her, but she is a conscientious person who I’m sure will be able to give a thoughtful critique. This also gives me a good excuse to print off the whole manuscript, which is always satisfying. Having few readers will help me meet my deadlines, and their notes will give me clearer direction for draft three.

Though each form of motivation helps keep me going, I still have some serious time restrictions no matter how determined I am to write. So wish me luck! I’m going to need it.

6 Ways to Limit Distractions and Finally Focus

Over the years, I have gathered a few tricks to help myself settle down and actually write. Today I am actually following my own advice! (A novel concept, right?) Using my little penguin egg timer, I’m writing in hour increments and taking healthy breaks. See the article for all 6 tips at StoryForge Productions!

Today’s goal: 3 hours, 3k, and 1 teapot of rose-jackfruit black tea. 

  • Hour One: 1,145 words and 3 hot cups of tea.
  • Hour Two: 1,103 words and 1 lukewarm cup of tea.
  • Hour Three: count pending 980 words and 1 cold cup of tea.
  • Total: 3,227.

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How do you get yourself to focus? Any quirky tips that you can share?

The Mid-Nano Lull

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Stuck in a mid-NaNo lull? Draw out your scene. A few unexpected details might help you get back on track. I drew this one out a while back, and it helped me clear my mind as I scribbled a dull grey sky and highlighted a crab with a splash of orange.

See my article with more tips at StoryForge Productions.

StoryForge Web Comic Launch!

To the utter glee of my local writing community, StoryForge Productions just launched their webcomic House on Writer’s Block,” and I’d like to invite you to read and enjoy it as well! Each day this week will bring you a page deeper into the Skelter:

Between the borders of Civilization and the Faery, lies the old, abandoned Writer’s Block. If you take the third dead end to the right, you’ll find the Skelter and its eclectic inhabitants. This is their story. Except, it isn’t, really.

See StoryForge’s Facebook Page to get involved in this fantastic storyteller’s community.

Just a hint to my followers—you’re going to hear more about StoryForge pretty soon, because they’re awesome. And very dedicated to the art of storytelling.

Writing Exercise: Close Your Eyes and Imagine…

I get distracted by visuals. The room around me screams for attention. Watermarks on the kitchen table, the half emptied dishwasher. Even the computer screen distracts me when I’m trying to write. Double spaced or single. How does that sentence look? Does it spill onto the next line? The next page? Punctuation needs to be perfect, so of course I have to go back and fix that mistake. Pretty soon, I’m no longer writing a story. All that’s coming out is proper grammar and punctuation, all the little scribbles that look nice on the page. My imagination has been invaded by visual stimulus.

Stop. 

Just stop.

Does this happen to you too? 

Close your eyes and ignore the space around you. Imagine the scene that you’re writing and the space your characters are in. What color are the walls? Are there watermarks on their table? What is the mood? 

Lift you hands to the keyboard and type with your eyes still closed. Don’t go back for misspelled words—as long as they’re recognizable, they’ll be fine. Plus, muscle memory will seriously kick in. Punctuation? Don’t worry about it. Free your imagination from all distractions and go. Just go. 

This is a good way to beat writer’s block, and to focus on your work when life is pulling you in a million directions. Try it out.

Does it work for you? How’s that scene coming?