Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Deal

First, a quick update:
Life: Still in school. Only in two courses this semester. It's great. Still hasn't snowed (!!)

Reading: Just started Kay's Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi. I'm pretty sure I'm behind on my goal of reading more books set outside of the US, so I'm trying to catch up by reading a bunch of CanLit. Recently finished The Miracles of Ordinary Men by Amanda Leduc, a strange but suspenseful and beautifully written book.

And, writing! Which is what I wanted to talk about today. I feel like I'm doing a lot better with my writing lately. I've slowly discovered a few things that help my writing:

1. 500 words a day. For the last half a year or so, whenever I don't feel like writing (which is all the time basically), I tell myself, okay, just write 500 words. That's it. Just 500. It's a super manageable number of words, and if I don't have a lot of time, it doesn't take a lot of time either. And it works! I get words out, and on good days I end up writing a lot more than 500 words. Like today! I sat down to write 500, and wrote 1300. 

2. Part time studies. I'm only taking two courses this semester for a few reasons, and while I'm doing quite a bit of volunteering these days, I don't have a part time job (perks of living at home), so that leaves a lot of time for writing and other creative things. It's not just the time that's freed up, but the mental energy. After spending all my time either in class, studying, or writing essays, I usually wouldn't want to spend time writing. Since I have that room to breathe now, I feel like I can actually spend time on writing.

3. Social media hiatus. Since certain events this month, I've been very motivated to stay off of Twitter and Tumblr, my go-to social medias and procrastination tools. Twitter is great for connecting with writers, but it's a huge time waster for me a lot of the time. Now I'm telling myself that I'm not going to go back on until I can tweet that I finished writing 50k.

4. Competition (aka The Deal). Back in August my brother and I went camping together. There was one night when we spent almost an hour sitting on a bench by the lake, just talking as the sun went down. (I don't think I've talked to my brother that much, cumulatively, since then.) Anyway, somehow what came out of that weekend is that we made a deal that I would write a book by the end of the year, and he would finish write a game (my brother studies computer science) by the end of the year. The deal has motivated me a lot, because for one thing, my brother won't let me back out of my commitment to write a 50k book by the end of December. For another, I am definitely not losing a deal to my brother. (Also, we still need ideas for rewards/punishments for success/failure so if you have any suggestions they'd be most welcome).

It feels good though. It's been a long time since I've been this consistent with my writing, and I'm excited that I've figured out a few things that are working for me. What helps you to stay motivated and committed to writing?


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