Bribing myself to write

It’s been 3 months since my last novel-writing update, so here’s a new one…

My writing-frequency slowed down in the run up to Christmas. And by ‘slowed down’ I mean stopped. I don’t think I wrote much in December at all. I was generally tired and lacking in motivation, plus I just felt like I wasn’t really engaging with the novel properly. Thankfully, the Christmas break worked wonders. Whether it was the almost-2-weeks off work (sooooo nice), or the psychological fresh start that is New Year, or probably both, I’m back into the swing of things now and I’ve met all of my writing targets so far this year. *Has mini celebration*

One thing that’s possibly helped is that I’ve changed my targets. Rather than 300 words every day, I’m now aiming for 500 words on only 3 days a week. Yes, it’s less words overall, but I’m finding it much more achievable. Trying to write every day, whilst a great idea and totally admirable of those that can manage it, is too much pressure on my limited self-motivation. It’s too easy to miss a day because I just don’t feel up to it, then to not bother the next day either, as hey, I’ve already missed one day, then for it to suddenly become a whole month. Whereas 3 days out of 7 feels manageable. The specific days being Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Why these specific days? Well, as well as reducing the number of days and overall word count, I’ve also started bribing myself (as you have probably gathered from the title of the blog post). Lots of articles online say that you should motivate yourself to write by rewarding yourself with something afterwards, but that it has to be something you really want and which you won’t just have regardless. Trying to think of something suitable was difficult. The obvious choice for me was alcohol! So, if I write the 500 words I can treat myself to a drink and if I don’t I can’t. It’s kinda win/win as either I get to have a tasty beverage (plus words get written), or my liver gets a rest for the evening! My choice of days might now potentially make sense? There was no point in choosing Friday, Saturday or Sunday, as I’m going to have a drink on those days regardless, plus I already set aside Tuesday as an alcohol free day (unless going out somewhere!), so there’d be no incentive there either. I’ve only been doing this for 3 weeks so far, but it’s working well. Fingers crossed it continues. I’ll let you know at my next update in April!

How much progress have I actually made in the last 3 months (despite the December dirth)? Well, my current word count is 30,460. Not quite the ‘half a novel’ I was hoping to have, though maybe not far off it. In terms of overall length, I read online somewhere, years ago, that novels are around 100,000 words, so that’s the figure I’ve had in my head as the goal to aim for. However, a fresh Google search this week has informed me that most are between about 80,000 – 100,000 and that the ‘sweet spot for editors’ (according to one particular article, by an editor) is to keep it under 90,000. I’m therefore adjusting the goal in my head to about 80,000 – 85,000 words. Yes, that means I’m still not halfway, but I’m suddenly much closer to it than I’d thought I was. Yay! A bit of a relief, to be honest, as plot-wise I’d say I’m probably around half way through.

At the start of the year, when thinking about goals to set myself (as I prefer that to resolutions, even if it’s arguably semantics), I considered a number of things, including finishing off the A-Z Music blogging that I started many years ago. I would still like to do that at some point, but as I’ve started packing my CDs in hopeful optimism of moving house, it didn’t seem like the right time. Rather than have a whole daunting list, I’ve gone for just 2 big goals for the year: Finish the first draft of this novel and buy a flat. Surprisingly, the first of those is currently seeming the more likely to happen! The housing market seems pretty quiet at the moment, I think partly/largely due to uncertainty around Brexit, so I’ve not even found anything I’ve wanted to view yet. Plus the whole Brexit thing makes me cautious too – am I better off waiting until after it happens (if it happens), in case property prices drop and I can get more for my money? Or could it mean that banks become less willing to lend and I’d struggle to get a mortgage? Not that those are major issues in the grand scheme of potential Brexit-effects, but hey, this is all probably for some other blog post (one that I’m not actually going to write as it would just be very ranty and include screams of ‘whyyyyyyy???????’

For now I’ll just keep bribing myself with booze. Seems like as good a plan as any.

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One Response to Bribing myself to write

  1. Crashing Elliptical says:

    Congratulations, 30,000 words is a great achievement! I like the bribery with alcohol technique too, it’s one that your unlikely to get bored of any time soon, so very effective.

    As for buying houses, I know little about it, but I can foresee nothing but a catastrophic mess post Brexit, so would assume it was worth waiting a couple of months for the inevitable tumble in housing prices. God, that was depressing to write!

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