Thursday, 7 August 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Determination & Motivation

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
       Last month I decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo on a whim. I didn’t really have a story in mind until the night before and I gave myself a smaller word count goal so I wouldn’t be as stressed as I am when I do November NaNo. As luck would have it, I managed to get myself into a great cabin for camp and we did word sprinting which really boosted my word count. By day 9 I had reached my word goal so I decided to up it to 50,000 words because I was doing so well. In the end I also surpassed the second goal by day 23. This time I didn’t change my word count goal and I think without that motivating me I just lapsed back into my usual procrastinating habits.
        I started writing random “Life Goal” lists which happened to include pretty much all of the things that I’ve wanted to do, that I should have been doing instead of writing goal lists. These include writing, editing, exercising and reading. Every day since I reached word count I’ve been honing my lists, borrowing books to read, thinking of edits to change and rolling out my yoga mat and then rolling it back up. 
        Instead of following through with any of these activities I found myself watching yet another Simpsons repeat. Or sometimes staring vacantly at my laptop screen wondering what else I could look up on the internet. I know that most published writers whether traditional or self-pubbed need a certain amount of discipline that I just don’t seem to have. I write daily tasks for myself in my diary adding a little tick box that I continually move from day to day, week to week until months have gone before I even really think about completing the task. I’m not the kind of person who can set a goal and then force myself to complete it that day, which is really weird because I finished my word count goal so much earlier than planned.  
        I’m not sure what changed last month for me to be able to do that. Perhaps it was my cabin buddies. Maybe it was having some kind of accountability to real people and not just to myself. Maybe it was just a good writing time for me. Whatever it is, I am worried that now that July is over I’m going to lapse back into being a super procrastinator. What’s up all you published writers out there? Do you guys have a schedule you work to? Do you make yourself write despite feeling a bit bleh? Tell me your secrets so that I might also be a time champion and not a waster. 


5 comments:

  1. Sounds like you just need friends to keep you accountable and a goal. Congratulations on blowing past your original goal.
    I'm a lazy writer. I have to set goals for myself or I'd never write.

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  2. Dearest Lan, your problem isn't with the writing. You do an amazing amount of that considering you work full time - unlike some of these bestselling YA novelists who write chirpy posts about how to arrange your writing day(perhaps knowing how easy it is to waste time when this is what you do for a living). When your "writing day" is late at night, you use it carefully. It's precious and you have to give up seep for it. But despite pausing to watch The Simpsons or whatever you do a phenomenal amount of writing. I know this. You write like nobody's business, far more than many others - be proud!

    What you don't seem to have on your list is "get published". And that's fine if you're not interested in publication, but I know you are. It may be a case of "what if they don't like it? What if they say it's no good?" (I'm quoting now from Back To The Future). And there's some truth in that. There WILL be people who don't like it. When someone says on Goodreads "Don't bother! Lan Chan's book sucks, I couldn't get past page 2" you won't even be allowed to respond. So what? Get a thick skin, all writers need one. But if you don't have a go at it, you'll never know, will you? ;-)

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  3. I guess we, your writing mates, will have to keep you accountable! Maybe if we bug you enough about not getting your editing done, it'll motivate you. You and whoever else is editing right now should just try editing "sprints" together. Do them at the same time! I'll even do one with you just so we can figure it all out.

    I think in order to keep the NaNo magic alive, you have to recreate NaNo as closely as possible on your own, and we can do that.

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  4. It just depends for me... sometimes setting a goal works for me, and sometimes not. I had a goal to write like 30,000 words in May and it didn't go anywhere. I ended up writing off and on all summer, but haven't gotten serious about anything. Like, one story was speaking to me, then a different one. But, I'm focusing better now because I really want to finish my next novella, and I can't do that if I keep procrastinating. Sometimes I just need to swiftly kick myself in the butt and it helps.

    If setting a word count goal works to motivate you, set goals. If having accountability helps, reach out to your writing friends. I'm always more than happy to help give my writer friends a little boost. :)

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  5. So obviously I'm not a writer, but when I struggle with procrastination, the things that help me are setting priorities and then breaking them up into a doable schedule. If I try to tackle it all at once, I'll get overwhelmed and procrastinate again. Maybe it just comes down to figuring out why you procrastinate and coming up with tactics that help you with your own particular set of issues.

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