Monday, April 5, 2010

Time, Compliments and Deadlines

It's amazing to me how a little time, a pat on the back and a deadline can motivate me to get things done.

I write every day, even if I'm exhausted and it's 10 PM (because that's the earliest point in the day I've had time to sit). My rule is I have to write at least one GOOD sentence before bed. Most work days I can knock off up to 800 new words. Today, the first day of spring break, I put down 1100 words before lunch. Most likely, I'll have half that again before my day is done. All because I have some undistracted writing time, someone who says my writing is worth pursuing, and a deadline.

I like to write as soon as I wake. My head is clear and the ideas flow easily. The day's events aren't able to distract me, because they haven't happened yet. I'm focused. I find that if I start my day thinking and working on my WIP it's easier to solve character issues or plot problems. I'm better able to think of ways to raise the stakes for my characters. In short, I'm more productive and it feels less like work.

A compliment can make a huge difference in my writing attitude. I am productive for days after a good word from my writer's group or critique partner (shallow and silly? Maybe...). This scholarship award from Chautauqua is very much the same. It's validation that I'm doing something right, and they are willing to invest their time and money towards my writing education. It's a powerful motivation, and I don't want to disappoint.

I have always worked best with a deadline, but since I'm unpublished, my deadlines are self-imposed. Sometimes that works. Sometimes not. My goal is to have my new WIP complete by July. The hope is I'll have a completed manuscript (albeit rough) to take with me to Chautauqua. That only gives me 13 weeks, so it's definitely fast-drafting (for me).

I've got an entire week free of the day job, and I'm hoping it'll be a productive week. It helps that I love the story I'm writing. The characters are fun, and the plot is an intriguing puzzle to solve -one I want to get right.

How, when and where do you write? Do you have a routine, or do you write when the muse hits you? Just curious...

9 comments:

KarenG said...

I'm a muse writer and I hate it! I am so jealous of you routine people. I want to be you. I try and my group of fairy muses just mess me up every time.

Karen Strong said...

I have a day job too but I'm such not a morning person so I commend you. I find my magic between 10pm and midnight.

Good luck on getting your WIP ready for Chautauqua -- you are going to LOVE it!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

WTG on +1000 words today! Chautauqua is a great motivator. Keep up the good work. :)

Anne M Leone said...

Congrats on Chautaugua! How exciting!

My work habits sound a lot like yours. I need to write in the morning before I even check email and especially the news, otherwise I get completely distracted and focused on other things.

And I do well with compliments too. Another shallow writer! But nice to have some reinforcement in this lonely work, right?

Niki said...

That's why I like doing the A-Z blog challenge, it has got me into the habit of writing something everyday. I'm hopeless without deadlines. Great post.

Christina Farley said...

I am so impressed with your writing goal to write everyday. That is huge. I don't always write every day but usually I do. I tend to do word counts in a week with a long term goal. Then I try to make up for lost time over the weekend. It's hard though!

And WOW! Congrats on Chautaugua. That is huge. Huge!

Nora MacFarlane said...

KarenG - I really am more of a muse writer, but I'm trying to make myself have a routine. I'm hoping my muse will visit more often if it knows I'm going to sit in the chair!

Karen S - When I'm on summer break, I like to write at night. My favorite place is on the back deck - just me and citronella candles... I think that it really comes down to writing when I'm less likely to have distractions. Right now, that's in the morning.

Thanks Sharon and Anne!

Niki - I love your A-Z blog challenge. It's fabulous!

Christina - Thank you! I'm so easily distracted I have to have DAILY accountability! If I tried to do it weekly, I'd fail. Majorly!

adrienne said...

A whole week and lots of motivation sounds like a winning combination - enjoy it! And congrats on the Chautaugua scholarship.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I try to keep to a schedule, but I have kids with me so it's tough. I have NO time to wait for a muse!