While we may write because we love it, completing (and revising) a novel is Hard Work. Plus, as it’s a solo effort, you have to be your own ‘good boss’. I don’t know about you, but this is definitely an area I could improve…
I’m pretty good at setting my own deadlines and mini-goals and tracking progress, but there’s another productivity trick that I keep forgetting about – treats.
On a normal day, I make several deals with myself of the ‘if you finish this paragraph you can check your email’ variety, but that’s about the extent of it.
I know that my friend Keris goes one step further and promises herself small gifts for reaching writing goals and I think this is a great idea. I mean, we don’t have performance reviews or bonuses or after-work drinks… We need something, right?
Plus, I think it’s important to celebrate the small successes and to find joy in the process of creation as, really, that’s what constitutes the writing life. The publishing side is amazing (and I count my blessings every single day), but it’s more… Fraught.
So. I’d already told myself that I had until the end of May to revise my first draft and send it to my agent, but now I’m wondering what little gift/treat can I promise myself if I hit that deadline… Maybe a meal out (or tea and cake in a nice cafe)? A book from my wish-list?
How about you guys? Do you like the idea of treats or is it something you do already?
Okay, I know that isn’t a promising title for a motivational post, but bear with me…
The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing (written by Stanford philosophy professor John Perry) is concise, witty and surprisingly useful.
It offers reassurance, as well as stealth tactics that will help you to become a productive procrastinator. For example, if you put a non-urgent, but fairly daunting goal at the very top of your priority list, you are more likely to complete the smaller tasks beneath it in order to put off tackling it.
In all seriousness, this has made me re-think my habit of putting ‘write book’ at the top of my daily to-do list. Perhaps, I ought to move it further down…
Friday again! In my part of the world the kids are on holiday from school so it’s been a week of snatched moments on the laptop* and many games of Boggle. Which, just to be clear, is brilliant. I love Boggle.
This week, I’ve been thinking about the writing life. Not so much the practicalities of getting the work done, but all the other stuff that comes along with being an author. It began when Neil Gaiman was asked this question on tumblr: ‘How stable of a career would you say being an author is?’
1. His answer is pictured above. [Link to the original post]
2. This funny piece by Jim Crace on his advice to aspiring writers: ‘The Secrets of My Success’. The Guardian.