Let’s all be honest here in the world of the blog. At least speaking for myself, I am intrinsically lazy. There, I’ve said it. To add to that admission, I’m also an irritating combination of ADD and OCD. So I obsess on something until I’m distracted…which happens all too often. And which does not bode well for writing great numbers of words on a daily basis.
Guaranteed, I sit down to write and I immediately remember the laundry in the washer that needs to go out on the line, and the box of thawing chicken necks that need to be bagged and stored before they turn green. Yeah, that’s happened, unfortunately more than once. Dirty dishes on the counter don’t need to be imagined since they’re pretty much right in front of me. And have the cats been fed?
Okay, that was just a bit too much distraction. The laundry is now hung on the line and another load is in the machine. Cats are fed, chicken bagged and stored (that’s for the dogs, by the way, not for me.) And I remembered to take my pills. No excuses now.
So, what’s the great con? When Susan Elizabeth Phillips visited LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) on her Great Escape tour, she shared some of her writing history and process. Part of which is using a digital timer to track her writing. She sets the timer for two hours, and taps the “off” button every time she answers the phone, checks e-mail, gets a drink, or does anything other than write on her book. Hmmm. This same suggestion came from LERA’s own very successful Robin Perini and also in a reply on Kristen Lamb’s fabulous blog This many very smart women can’t be wrong. Right?
I picked up a digital timer at the grocery store where I get “purchase credits” against their gas prices. If nothing else, this would bring me a few cents off my next fill up. Got the battery loaded right away but then gardening sidetracked me. And grooming dogs. And sweeping the floor after a muddy rain. Enough already, self! I unearthed that darned timer, figured out how to make it work (having buried the instructions in the masses of paper around here) and set it to go. Told myself I MUST WRITE for an hour.
So, I wrote. And wrote some more. Since I could ONLY write for that hour, the distractions fell back to a murmur, and I kept writing, occasionally glancing at the timer. As the minutes ticked down from sixty to forty-five, I told myself I had to stay in the chair, fingers on the keys, and ignore that inner editor. Keep writing. Down to thirty minutes now and somewhere between thirty and fifteen minutes my mindset went from “only have to write for fifteen more minutes” to “OH NO I only have fifteen more minutes to write!”
And the words kept coming. 1800 plus in an hour, more than I’ve been able to squeeze out in an afternoon’s writing. Same thing happened the next time I set the timer, and every time since.
Maybe this will end up being the best con I’ve ever pulled on myself. Which helps since I’m working on a somewhat difficult section of a new to me plot, one with lots of characters in the middle of a community instead of just a few out in the woods.
What’s the greatest con you’ve ever pulled on yourself?
8 responses to “Conning myself into writing more”
Glad to hear the chicken necks weren’t for you! Lucky dogs, though. 🙂
I’ve never been good at conning myself. The only thing that truly works for me is a deadline. And self-imposed deadlines don’t count. I love the idea of a timer, though! Now I’m going to have to go find mine and give it a try. Thanks for the tip!
I’m finding even if I don’t resist distractions, the timer makes me finish my allotted hour, two hours, however long.
Did you get the blog on the cauliflower cheese green chile bread?
Yes, I did! It looks awesome! Thank you for sending it; I’ll let you know well in advance of posting it. 🙂
This is great! I totally relate to the OCD/ADD thing. For me, Windows 7 has given me my best accountability tool in the Gadgets accessory, where I can put digital Post-It notes on my desktop. I’m used to documenting client writing–I do that in project notebooks so I’ll have it available if my invoices are ever questioned (no, that’s never happened, but hey, I obsess). However, I never did this for fiction because I don’t bill for it. Now, I have Post-It notes on my desktop for anything I’m writing on every day. I log in the date, then the time in and time out. Now that I’ve started treating my fiction writing like my contract writing, I’ve found I write more fiction. I don’t like seeing any day now when the pink Post-It (that’s my fiction one) doesn’t have as many lines as my contract work has.
Thanks for offering us a day in your life. Could totally see it all as I read. 🙂
I’ll have to see if that’s on Vista…I don’t use Windows near as much as I could. Thanks for the tilp
Mona we have SO much in common! And it’s great to know that others have these distractions. Thanks for the tip. I’ll use the timer!
Wow. I’m impressed. I’m happy to put out 1500 words in a day. Might have to try it.
Greta, I bet you put those 1500 words out almost every day! My goal is SOME words on a book every day. Sadly blogs can’t count