Today, the Playground is pleased to welcome author Julia Harper. We met her at a book signing at nationals this year and knew we just had to invite her to come play. Give her a warm playground welcome!
JULIA’S MOTIVATIONAL TIPS FOR THE UNMOTIVATED WRITER
OMG, it’s a new year with new deadlines and manuscripts to be written—presumably by me. I don’t know about you all, but getting my butt in the chair can be somewhat . . . problematic at times. Now, don’t get me wrong, having an actual contracted deadline does sharpen the mind wonderfully, but even that doesn’t always seem to matter on a gray January day at six o’clock in the morning. Sadly, part of being a professional writer is self-motivation, which even more sadly means you have to do it All By Yourself.
So here forthwith is a short list of Helpful Hints for Getting Your Butt in the Chair:
1. Goals: Always have a goal and—more importantly—a reward for meeting the goal. Turning in the manuscript is not a reward, it’s an obligation. A new iPhone is a reward!
2. Small Goals: Some of us have trouble thinking about writing a whole 400 page manuscript, causing us to stare at the ceiling and wonder how long it takes to get a plumbing license these days. This is the reason for Small Goals of, say, X amount of pages a day.
3. Mini Goals: Some of us have trouble thinking about even Small Goals, involving as it does an Entire Day of Writing. No TV. No internet. No going outside to play in the snow. Thus we must make Mini Goals and employ not only Rewards but Sticks as well. Such as: When I finish this page I can get a banana muffin, but until I finish this page I can’t eat anything at all and I can’t even get up to go to the bathroom so I’d better finish it before my bladder bursts. Childish, but effective.
4. Woowoo: Now I’m the most pragmatic person in the world, but even I can’t discount the Woowoo. Woowoo are the things writers use to get them in the writing groove. Like the special music you play for writing about vampires. The cardamom-scented candle that must sit exactly two inches from the upper right corner of your keyboard. It can even be the spreadsheet you created in which you detail how many hours you worked and how many pages you wrote for each day. You might think this last is high efficiency, but let’s face it: it’s Woowoo.
And there are many, many more ways of placing your butt in the chair (you can list your own in the comment section,) but I still have 1,000 words to write today and I just drank two cups of tea.
Julia is also giving away an autographed copy of her book to one lucky commenter!