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:~: Monday, January 22, 2007 :~:

The Power Of Persuasion

Okay, I'll admit it. I tend to be slightly competitive. I, personally, don't think I was like this before I got married, but my husband assures me he didn't create this obessive part of my personality, that it was there loooong before we met.

Whatever. He happens to be highly competitive too, so either he's rubbed off on me over the years or our competitive personalities were attracted to each other right from the start.

I'm one of those people who works really well on a deadline or when she's competing for something. Not self-imposed deadlines though. There's a difference. If I set the deadline and there's nothing to work for (or against) I'll never strive to meet the goal. Oh, I'll work toward it, but if that deadline comes and goes, I really won't bat much more than an eyelash at it. Certainly won't make me bust my butt to finish a project because of it. However, if I know someone's waiting for that project - say an editor or my agent - then I'm in serious production mode, working until I finish.

My RWA group sets goals every month. What do you get if you meet your goal? You get part of the money pot (which usually only totals a couple bucks because we each toss in fifty cents when we set a goal). Do I win? Youbetcha. Almost every time. That's my competitive nature coming out. I'm working against someone else, toward a deadline that I didn't personally set. There's accountability if I don't make the goal I announced in front of the whole group. There's a prize (measly as it is, though I consider it a deposit into my coffee fund) and there's that internal feeling of achievement when I announce, "yep, I made my goal." Have I ever not met my goal? Yes. Once - in just over two years. And it bugged me to no end. It's really a silly little thing we do at our meetings, but for someone like me - extremely competitive - it works.

So what does all this have to do with persuasion? Well, that's easy. I've been trying to kick my butt in gear with the wip. To start churning out some major pages and get this thing done. Only my little self-imposed deadlines aren't spurring me on. I'll write 15 pgs one day, 12 the next, five the day after and then nothing for three to four days. And then it takes me another day or so to get back into the habit, to reconnect with the characters and start writing again. Sound familiar? Yeah, familiar and frustrating.

Last week (and here's the persuasion part), I was reading Karin Tabke's blog (for any of you who aren't following her first line contest, go check it out), and she was talking about a competition she's doing with her cp's - to write ten pages a day. Ten pages. Yikes. Sounds like a lot. But when you think about it, it really isn't. When I sit down to write, I generally pump out at least seven in a sitting. Many times, more. What if I push for ten instead of seven? What if I keep my butt in the chair until I get ten? I've never been a "write such and such pages per day" writer, but maybe it's the jumpstart I need to get this darn ms done.

I've roped Lisa into doing this with me. We're starting today. We still need to come up with our reward - but I'm leaning towards drinks and dinner with the girlfriends to celebrate our accomplishments, say, after a month. Sounds like a good reward to me.

So...anyone want to join us? Feel up to writing 10 pgs per day? And while you're at it, what things work to help motivate you?

Labels:

12Comments:

Blogger Joan Swan said...

Cool! I'm glad you have a buddy to spur you.

I'm not the # of pages per day type of person. Nor am I the competitive type when it comes to writing -- in many other things, yes -- but when I write, I'm focused on creating the best story I can create, and that often doesn't jive with daily writing goals for me.

When I'm slow on a story, when I don't want to write, it's because I'm stuck--something's not right. That's when I stop and analyze, rework, replot, dig deeper.

I spend a lot of time in this area because if I don't, I end up writing something that I have to then rewrite. Which only confuses me and muddies the waters of my story. So, setting goals wouldn't really work for me because I never know when I'll have to do analysis or plot or write or reread or develop character or ... you get the point.

Every day I take the next step, whatever it is that day.

Routine spurs me.

Good luck -- I'm sure you'll meet your goals!

3:52 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Interesting post, E. I've tried the pages-per-day thing before, and it simply doesn't work for me. But best of luck to you!

Nice comment, J. I think you nailed *why* the pages-per-day thing doesn't work for me. I have to work on the work, not necessarily the pages, if that makes sense. Sometimes, pushing forward simply doesn't work for me, and I have to go back or let it sit.

6:13 PM  
Blogger wavybrains said...

Normally I'd be all over this, but I'm about 10-50 pages from the end of my WIP---per day page/word count goals only really work for me in the rough draft stage. I use different markers for editing.

Right now, I'm learning to be more comfortable with what Joan talks about--the stopping and analyzing. My 2,000 words a day has completely stalled (and not just b/c of the preg/teaching)---and I know the problem is plot related. Problem is I'm stuck on how to solve it.

But go girls go! Maybe I'll join you after the editing phase :)

8:21 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Wavy,

Good idea to use that technique in the first draft phase. That I could do.

Hang on, E. You never know. I may join you if I can decide on what to work on next.

:-)

10:23 AM  
Blogger Dennie McDonald said...

ooooh a challenge - I love a challenge! I will give it a try - 10 pages... starting tomorrow 'kay - gotta work myself up to it!

2:33 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

I totally get what you're saying, Joan and Lin, and usually I agree. But in my case - right now - it's more a motivation thing than anything else. So we'll see if this works. I wrote 12 pgs last night. The last four were like pulling teeth, but I did it, and I have to say, while it may be 12 pgs of total crap, it felt good to get it done.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hey, Wavy, anytime you want to brainstorm your plot hangup, you know where to find me. :)

BTW, that happened with my last manuscript. I stalled out at the 3/4 point for some odd reason. It took me about a month to finally see the ending clear enough so I could write it.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Ooh, J, you shouldn't have said that. You KNOW I'm going to be hounding you to start something new now.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Way to go, Dennie! Glad to see you've joined the club. 10 pgs. You can do it!

3:07 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Ellie,

I work much better on a hour count than page count. But with that said, maybe I can join your competition subbing hours for pages?

9:30 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

The more, the merrier, Theresa.

How many hours are you going to fork over?

11:59 AM  
Blogger Edie said...

The money in a pot is a great idea! I'm going to tell my chapter about it and see if anyone wants to do it.

Good luck on your pages!

6:15 PM  

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