This week’s pep talk is by JuNoWriMo co-founder Becca Campbell.
Howdy, hard-working overachievers and unmotivated procrastinators! Whichever of the two you are, you are awesome—did you know that? You’re writing a book, and that’s no small thing! Whether you’re ahead or behind on word count, the point is, you are out there getting it done—something that many will never even attempt, let alone try to do in thirty days. Give yourself a pat on the back: you deserve it.
Plan a Sweet Reward
Right now I want you to stop worrying about schedules and whether or not you’ll be able to hit 50K by the end of the month. Put that out of your mind and instead dwell on something more pleasant for a moment: how will you reward yourself when you do win?
Not if, but when.
When you finish, what will your reward be? And I’m not talking the basic my-book-is-finished reward. I mean a tangible prize you’ve been longing for. Need some ideas? Buy a bottle of your favorite, very expensive wine or champagne. Give yourself a $100 gift card to splurge at your favorite store. Purchase a $50 box of Godiva chocolates. Take a weekend mini-vacation. Pay a babysitter to keep your kids for a day and have a marathon watching session to catch up on your favorite television show. Spend a day at a spa. Eat dinner at that very expensive restaurant you reserve for milestone wedding anniversaries, like that place that has chocolate fondue—yum!
What’s so special that you won’t get it for yourself, but you would be absolutely thrilled to receive as a gift? Plantoreward yourself with that. In fact, go ahead and book the hotel, reserve the babysitter, or make an appointment at the spa. But you only get your reward if you hit 50K. If you don’t make it, you must cancel your plans. I know it sounds harsh, but you’re bribing yourself, and a bribe won’t work if you get it either way.
Print out a picture that represents your reward with “Grand Prize for 50,000 words” written at the top, and post it over your desk. This is your carrot. Focus on that carrot daily, let it make you salivate. Imagine the relief of that foot massage or the taste of that decadent treat.
Planner or Pantser – Two Strategies for Bludgeoning
Now that your reward is in place, I have two strategies you can follow to get there. Pick one and stick with it.
The Planner Approach
Determine how many days you have left this month. Now go hour by hour through each day and figure out where you can carve out time to write. I typically recommend two sessions a day, but if you are very far behind, try to get in three or four sessions daily, at least an hour each, and longer if possible. Record these writing session windows in ink. These are not suggestions, they are appointments. You are committing to write at that time each day. You will get bludgeoned with a club if you miss an appointment. (Okay, not really, but think of it that way, and maybe it’ll be more effective.)
When you sit down to write, you are not allowed to surf the web, chat, or “research” your story. You should be writing the entire time, only giving yourself short breaks to stretch, hydrate, etc. Enjoy your time in between sessions, but be prepared to return with focus at your next scheduled window.
The Pantser Approach
I could tell everyone to do the above, but Pantsers, I know you too well. I won’t ask you to sit down and write out your schedule for the next ten days, because I know you’re cringing at the thought of it. And that’s okay. Here’s your strategy for finishing this month.
Getting literally bludgeoned for not writing would be a bit extreme. This technique is much milder: every time you think about food, you must stop what you’re doing and write for twenty minutes. That’s twenty minutes of hard-core writing without pausing. Once you’re done, get your lunch, dinner, or snack—think of the sustenance as your reward. If you’re behind, these impromptu writing sessions don’t count as your quota for the day; consider them an extra boost to get you caught up.
End to Win
Now you have your carrot and your strategy. Bribery and bludgeoning.
Remember, you’re already amazing. But winning JuNoWriMo will be icing on that cake. And your reward will be most tasty.
I’ll send you off with one last word of advice:
You don’t need to write that book, but your book needs you. Without you, it won’t exist.
Remember that, and don’t give up!
Becca J. Campbell is the co-creator of JuNoWriMo and author of New Adult Romantic Science Fiction novels Foreign Identity and Gateway to Reality, New Adult Paranormal Thriller Empath (The Flawed Series #1), and Sub-Normal, a series of Science Fiction short stories.
An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality, Becca looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. You can find her on her Author blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon.
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