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Drastic Measures

Despite all my talk about stick-to-it-iveness, I have not done much writing in the past couple of months. I have lots of excuses—two small children, training for a half marathon, etc. But like Martha Borst says, you can have excuses, or you can have results. And I don’t want this revision to drag on all year, so I decided to take some drastic measures. Last week, I mailed a friend of mine in Texas $1000 and asked her to send me back $100 every week that I make my goals. She’ll do this for eight weeks, and then send me the last $200 when I turn my manuscript in to my editor. This way I’ll feel like I’m EARNING something each time I complete my goals. I also asked her, if I don’t make my goals, to send that $100 to the charity of her choice. This friend of mine is Republican, unlike me or any of my friends in California, so yesterday she said to me, “So who’s getting $100 this week? You or Fox News?” So I’m REALLY motivated. The truth is, I’m behind on my goals. I have a buttload of stuff to finish by tomorrow night at midnight (Wednesdays are my deadlines), but if it wasn’t going to cost me $100, I’d probably let it slide. Instead, I am VERY focused on my goals right now. And I WILL get them done, even if it means staying up half the night tonight. And it feels fantastic to have an eight-week deadline because that means I’ll work hard for eight weeks and then I’m DONE (until I get the edits back), and what a great feeling to be DONE. So much better than having this hang over my head for the next sixth months.

So what about you? How do you motivated/trick/bribe yourself to get work done?

14 comments to Drastic Measures

  • WOW hahaha that is drastic but brilliant!

    Although, does Fox News really count as a charity?! (More like a head case…) Ahem. 😛

    I've been dealing with the same irony — posting about how great writing is and how hard I'm working, then hitting a wall. I just mailed about $1k to the IRS, but I don't think they'll send parts back to me each week… So I guess I just have to push through on my own. Sigh.

    But this does have me thinking about how, ideally, to do things for the next book. I'm thinking I need to get my first drafts done in 6 weeks. More than that and I start running out of steam.

  • wow. hats off to you. that kind of pressure would kill my creativity.

  • every hour I put into work – My husband owes me 10 mins of exercise – with a maximum of 60 minutes of exercise per day and maximum of 5 hrs a week… so the harder I work – the hotter he will become..

    right now, he owes me some exercise!!

  • Kristan – if ONLY the IRS would send you $100 a week! But I think you're more disciplined than I am, so you probably don't need it.

    Christine – for me it's not about being creative – just about putting the hours in. Maybe because I'm on my third (fourth? I've lost track) revision.

    Aditi – I love that plan! And tell him to get off his butt and pay up!

  • I love your article and the way you managed to motivate yourself. You made me laught so much, thank you for that too. I'm not a writer but I have the same issue whenever I don't have any orders and should still work as hard as usual, because of course for some reason orders always pile up when the kids have a school break. I'm working on it and I think that I'm getting better though. 🙂

    You're in good way! Je croise les doigts pour toi ! 🙂

  • Merci, Armelle! It's so difficult to be disciplined without deadlines (or orders). Bonne chance a nous deux!

  • abby

    I love this motivator, and fox news is just the thing to get me riled up enough to work. Do you think you'll have to miss a deadline and the payment to really *feel* the pressure or is the theoretical donation enough to keep you going. I know I'm like a 2 year old and would need to see it was for real.

  • Motivation is tough, as virtually the easiest thing to do in the world is come up with an excuse for not writing. I try to set out a specific time for writing and do it whether or not I have anything to say. I can't honestly say that always works.

  • Abby, just the thought of losing $100 is enough for me! I still have some things to get done by midnight tonight. But if I do lose one week, it will have been worth it to spend $100 to get my book done in eight weeks.

    Travener – it's SO easy to put writing last after all other commitments and chores! That's great that you try to write each day whether you have anything to say or not.

  • Dang, that IS drastic!! Go, girl!

  • Wow… That's pretty clever. If I had to start paying Fox News $100 a week for not meeting my goals, I think I'd finish a novel a month. Good luck!

  • Thanks, Sierra and Atsiko! So far it's working!

  • Hello,Super post, Need to mark it on Digg Pett