Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tricks and treats

So, the votes are in. I've left my first poll, "What helps you stay on task?" up way too long. "Lists and goals" won with 7 votes, followed closely by guilt and fear at 5. Less popular were "doing what you love," because only hippy-dippies do that, right? 4 votes for "love," and "tricks and treats" came in last with 3.

My own choice, "tricks and treats," was least popular, but it's so key for me. I guess if I'm honest, I use both goals and fear. Here I am, tracking my word counts and working to deadlines, but in the moment, to motivate myself, tricks and treats win out. I don't believe in being ruled by guilt and fear, powerful as they may be, and too often, lists and goals go hand in hand with guilt and fear for me.

So I pretend the world's in crisis and that writing time is a long-awaited luxury -- not too far off the mark -- but it still counts as a trick. I make plans for a fun Wednesday night to encourage myself to work Wednesday day. I say, Rachel, no more Project Runway Canada on Youtube until you put in a good writing session.

Sometimes, the writing's so much fun that when I'm done, I forego the treat -- go to bed instead of staying up the extra hour to watch foreign reality shows online. But if I want the treat when I'm done, I take it, and no feeling guilty either. Not as long as I'm getting work done.

This, of course, means that I have to make time to watch Project Runway Canada, not always the most productive use of my time, but who said life was all about being productive? Just today, I learned there about ridiculously popular things called "productivity blogs." I hope mine doesn't fall into that category. I don't want to be anti-productivity, but I'd rather focus on process.

Oh, and as to the second poll, we're about half and half as to whether this template needs to change. Throw my own vote in there, add the silent votes of those who I suspect are afraid to voice their true feelings, give some credence to the single "Yes, yes, please" vote since I happen to know it came from a fancy-schmancy designer, and the template's gonna change. Sorry to all 5 of you who like it how it is. I value your readership, but change is good. Change is a beautiful thing.

Words: 1,471 new, including a start to a scene I've been scared to write, not because it's scary, but because I've had a clear idea what I want the scene to accomplish and a not-so-clear idea of its content. It's more comfortable for me to come at a story sideways than to create it head-on with a mission in mind, but I'm at a stage in my writing where I have a lot of raw material and am playing with structure, thinking about the big picture. That means I have to think a little more mechanically than when I write on intuition alone. Intuition still comes into it of course -- the getting started is just a bit more daunting because I have expectations. I think what I'm getting is working. Sigh.

I loved Luna, read it straight through.
Now I'm on to Sisters by Gary Paulsen. It's a neat layout -- flips upside down to read one way in English and one way in Spanish. While he did write it first in English, the layout means that neither language dominates.

1 comment:

johnny said...

Project Runway Canada! I had no idea that existed - fabulous, eh!

I do like the tactic of rewarding yourself after working hard on something - even if it's easier to put off what you're working on to have fun...though I think day jobs are exempt from this...

Off to watch 30 Rock on hulu.com...