Monday, July 16, 2012

Swift Kicks and Whatever It Takes

I'm going to start by being honest.  I can talk until I'm blue about motivation, but I'm as often UNmotivated as everyone else. As proof of this, I'm doing rewrites right now, mixing old with new, and I'm wondering if bamboo under the fingernails wouldn't be easier.

The funny thing about these rewrites is that I have a close writer friend who just finished a round of the same.  Hers weren't requested/suggested changes, but something she needed to do to get a long-ago idea up to par for the here and now.  The farther into it she got, the more she questioned her sanity.  I'm feeling that same insanity.  But when it comes to her book, I have no doubt it will be fabulous.  I also know for a fact that she survived and is back to her usual lovable loony self, working on a new and completely different book.

As for me, I worked all day yesterday, on and off, to rework one scene.  Yes, that's one scene.  Approximately 6-7 pages.  Actually, it was a combination of two scenes that originally were set on two different days.  It should have been a no-brainer.  It wasn't.  By late last night, I couldn't remember what I'd added, taken out, left as it was, changed a tad, changed a lot or even what the scene was about.  I finally quit, did some laundry, and watched The Network on HBO.  Only later, when my eyes were beginning to cross and the clothes tumbled in the dryer, was I able to read through and discover I just might have gotten it right.  A miracle!

Has this small glow of accomplishment spurred me on to continue?
Are you kidding?

Just the thought of doing this for not only the next two scenes to finish the chapter, but more than likely another 3 or 4 chapters makes me want to hide in a cave--and not the writing cave.  (My friend has no idea how much admiration I have for her at the moment.)

Why aren't I simply writing from scratch?

  1. Because there were a few gems among the mundane words and phrases.  
  2. Because I'm getting to know my characters better.  They'd somehow taken on personalities that weren't what I'd originally envisioned, and I'm trying to make them see that their headstrong ways are not appreciated.  Wrestling is slimming, right?  
  3. Because I have faith in myself that I can make this better.  I wish that was enough motivation.

In the end, it's all going to come down to meeting the goals I've set.  They're not easy goals by any stretch.  60 pages every 2 weeks.  My average is usually 20 a week.  5-6 a day is pushing it for me.  (With 5 grandkids here every weekday, writing must wait until evening, when the brain has already slowed to a crawl.)  In times of extreme duress--aka racing to a deadline--I can push myself to extremes, but only for a short time.  Like one day.  Last month, I miraculously wrote 19 pages in a day.  I'm not sure I can survive that again.

But that's way too much about me.  What about you?

  • Have you set goals for the week, whether writing or life?
  • Are these goals part of a long term goal you're working toward?  Or simply a stand-alone goal for something special?  (Don't worry, it doesn't matter.  It only needs to be specified in your mind.)
  • Have you chosen a reward for reaching a goal, whether a mini-goal that's part of a bigger one, or a single one?
  • If this is a must-reach goal, have you alerted friends and family that you will be unreachable during specified times?
  • Are you prepared to force yourself to work toward your goal, when every fiber of your being cries out, "I just want to have fun!"?  (Yes, this is here because of personal experience...every day.)
Oh, and for anyone who might be following my walking-each-day goal, I walked one day last week, and it was a shortened version.  (See me grimace in shame?)  However, I did walk this morning.  With temps continuing in the 100s this week, we'll see how that goes.  Maybe a goal to return my treadmill to an exercise machine, instead of a clothes rack would work?
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

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