Friday, April 16, 2010

Writing motivation and progress

Finding time to write often means sacrificing other things you'd like to do. I try to make time by unplugging my internet connection, turning off the TV, resisting the call of that great new book I just got from the library, avoiding cleaning, and bribing my oldest daughter to make dinner.

Nevertheless, I always need motivation. Sometimes chocolate isn't enough. Ever heard of word-wars? They are great motivators. Get together with a writing friend and set a time, see who writes the most words in that time. Or if you can't get together with your laptops you can call each other, set a word count, and see who makes it to the word count first (only thing is, she doesn't like it when I call her up at 2 am to tell her I made it). Another thing you might try is this killer website, Write or Die (pun intended).

How do you make time to write? I'd love to hear more tips

Here's a new thing I'm trying: posting my weekly writing goals here on my website, and then reporting my progress at the end of the week. I promise to be honest. Please heckle me if you see me falling short, I'm hoping that'll increase my motivation.

Week starting April 17: 2000 words, or 20 pages edited, or some combination thereof: met about 80% of goal.

Week starting April 25: editing/polishing up seven chapters, one chapter a day. Tying up loose ends, rooting out passive voice, spicing up settings/characterization/voice: well, ahem, um, so, I got through three chapters. Then a CP made me aware the first two had serious flaws. So then I gave up and swore off writing, forever.

Week starting May 2: so maybe I'm not swearing off writing forever. But my goal this week is very meagre. Going to try to keep cleaning up the next few chapters while I go back and try to re-invent the first two. Managed to get seriously flawed chapter #1 re-written. It's still flawed, but it's improved marginally.

Week starting May 10: get 2nd severly flawed chapter re-written. See how my goals are diminishing? I'm not in a good spot. I HATE re-writing. I wish it was time for NANOWRIMO already. Completely re-wrote 2nd chapter in first person (originally in 3rd person). Not sure if I'll keep it in first, but it was a good exercise.

Week starting May 17: forgot to set a goal and therefore, absolutely nothing accomplished. Arrggg!

Week starting May 24: re-write another chapter/character into first person. Actually, since I accomplished zero last week, I really need to get two chapters re-written this week. Thank goodness for motivation from Elana and from Jackee. Got one chapter re-written at least.

Week starting May 31: provide crits for partners and get third chapter re-written for Valley. Polish up first chapter for Raining for writer's retreat next week!


  1. Hi Margo, I set my alarm for 4.00 every morning to spent time writing before the rest of the house gets up. I work full-time so I get 2hours before I need to be ready to go to work. I print up a story or chapter and take this into work with me to edit in my tea & lunchbreaks. In the evening I work for a couple of hours after dinner & doing the washing up etc. I don't watch TV and if I need to catch up on the news I listen to the radio.

    At the weekend my alarm is still set for 4.00 though I do allow myself a few minutes to decide whether I do want to get up to write but the pull is too strong to want to write and it is lovely when the rest of the house sleeps on until nine and you have written another thousand words or completed another story before breakfast.

    Good luck with your writing.

  2. I have a pen pal email friend and we talk together nearly on a daily basis. We send each other stories about our lives and this helps to keep the creative juices flowing. I always find the time to write, mornings evenings or late at night. I don't watch television much, so that helps. But the internet... that still is my demon and takes up the most writing time.

  3. I discipline myself to just peek at my emails in the morning (in case I need to answer something urgent) and then leave actually going through them until last. I also do "hit and runs" on Facebook, Twitter and forums rather than parking there for any length of time. I've posted an annual writing goals schedule on my WaySinger blog to remind me of them.

  4. Found a good writing motivation trick "the kitchen timer method" at

  5. From the Writer Unboxed blog, another mom with young kids talks about how she stays motivated:



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