To Thine Ownself Motivate

Even if it requires stooping to bribery.

My edits are going slower than I want. So, to motivate me I decided on a small bribe.

I need a new camera. Okay, I don’t really need it. I want a new camera, one that can zoom out more than my little Fuji Finepix, has a higher MP (mega-pixel), and more automatic and manual features.

I can’t buy it until I complete my edits, and it must be done prior to my birthday in August. That gives me two months. If I don’t make the deadline, no camera.

How’s that for motivation, eh? I’ll let you know if I make it.

A few weeks ago I finished Donald Maass’ "Writing the Breakout Novel." Excellent book. He gives excellent advice along with examples of recent (since the book’s publication in 2000) breakout novels. He shows what they each have in common, and I gotta admit, it’s fairly simple.

In theory. In practice it’s something else.

When I purchased the book, I also bought the companion workbook.

Here I ran into a snag.

In each chapter such as creating a multidimensional character and establishing inner conflict, we’re supposed to go through and change certain parts of our work in progress.

The snag came when I couldn’t find good examples to modify. It’s not that because my book is in dire need of so much help, but that it already had the well-rounded characters, oodles of inner conflict, and even parts where the character does something unexpected.

I decided the workbook needs to be shelved until I tackle a less-refined novel – one in it’s first or second draft.

The realization boosted me quite a bit. My novel doesn’t need as much work as I feared. I won’t claim it’s of breakout caliber, but I will certainly continue to work toward that goal, and dream it’s possible.

A question for you. When you lack motivation to complete a writing project, how do you push yourself to finish?

5 thoughts on “To Thine Ownself Motivate

  1. Hi Andra, oh, I’ve tried the Donald Maass thing and that is an endless cycle of improving your book. It works — don’t misunderstand — but boy, it will eat as much time as you give it! He just came out with a new book, The Fire in Fiction.
    I know what you mean about getting things done. The only thing that works for me is, like you’re doing, work on a regular schedule. I find meeting a daily word goal and CHARTING IT to be helpful, but there’s no easy way to do this stuff. Good luck!
    And Happy Birthday! (a little early, but I’ll think of you…)


  2. Heh heh. Well, I just procrastinate.
    Least that’s what I’m doing now, so if anyone has any advice, I’m all ears!!!
    I got 67 pages done and I haven’t worked on it for a couple months. 😦 Maybe my brain is forcing me to take a break.


  3. Amy: There definitely comes a time when we have to say. “Enough.” and send out what we got.
    Writing an hour or two after my little guy has gone to bed (if not to sleep. He’s talking to himself a the moment. Makes me giggle every time). So far I’m yielding an average 5 pages. At this rate I’ll make it.
    Thanks for the birthday wishes!
    Jessica: Procrastination is definitely my biggest enemy. Help this time around came from an unexpected source: a prayer. The last time I talked to him, he prayed I would have the motivation to write, and I can’t seem to stop since.
    Maybe asking others to pray for you would help. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.


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