Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Word Count Wednesday & Motivational Messages from Jeff Savage and Stephanie Black

Well, I made it home last night at 1:00 a.m. after critique group (we even started half an hour earlier!) but I was so motivated to really polish my story.  I took my notebook to my kids' swimming lesson this morning and jotted down all my ideas for my revision.  I have to say, I am excited for tonight's sprint because I feel like I'm on the brink of some amazing progress!  I hope you all can join me from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m MST tonight for the sprint.  I had so much fun last week!  I'll do a blog post so we can check in every fifteen minutes and I'll be over on Twitter as well.  @juliebellon  And I logged just over 2000 words on my revision this week so double woot for me!  How did you do?

As most of you know, I was part of the Six LDS Writers and a Frog Blog for five years and I completely enjoyed my time blogging with some of the most amazing authors you'll ever have the pleasure to read.  Stephanie Black was one of them and you will not find a better mystery writer anywhere, in my opinion.  I love mysteries that keep you guessing until the very last page and that give you just enough chills and thrills to make you bite your nails as you read.  That's what Stephanie Black's books are in spades.

Jeff Savage was also a Frog Blogger and he has gone on to amazing heights with his Harper Collins deal for his MG books Case File 13 Zombie Kid (you can see the cover here It's awesome!) while still doing his Farworld series with Shadow Mountain and a horror book with Covenant.  He is the renaissance man of the writing world hands down.  And we have them BOTH on the blog to motivate us today!  Viva la Frog Bloggers!

Stephanie Black Gets Motivated

It's ironic that Julie would ask for my thoughts on motivating ourselves to write, since lately I have been unproductive with a capital un. I'm in the brainstorming stage on one project and in the got-partway-into-the-book-and-realized-I-needed-to-do-more-brainstorming stage on another. I have difficulty sticking with brainstorming for too long--I'd rather write the story than figure out what the story is, if that makes sense. So it's a good thing that I'm here talking about motivation because maybe I can give myself a pep talk! Woot! 

One thing that's worked for me in the past was bribing myself with See's Chocolates, an idea I got from author Melanie Jacobson. I would tell myself that after I wrote 1000 words (about four pages) I could have a chocolate. Since I'm highly motivated by chocolate, it worked well. 

You could adapt the small goals/small rewards idea according to what works for you at that time. Make the goal small enough that it's reachable, but keeps you moving forward. In fact, I ought to come up with some mini-goals for the next few months. With my daughters home from college, Girls Camp coming up (I'm stake camp director), and vacations, summer isn't going to be a very productive writing time (except for crunch weeks when I'm reviewing edits and proofing my book that will be released this fall). But I can still set tiny goals (and reward myself with tiny chocolates? Write twenty-five words and get one M&M . . . ). Even if I only work on my projects for fifteen minutes a day, that's fifteen more minutes than I would have logged if I did nothing. It's forward momentum. And if I keep moving forward, eventually, I'll finish!

(I can't wait for Stephanie to finish so I can be first in line to buy her new book!  Now I just need to think of something to bribe myself with . . .)

Jeff Savage's Top Ten List of Motivational Strategies

10: Read something I really love. It could be an old favorite or something new, but reading good writing often inspires me to write something myself.

9: Move to a part of the story I am excited about. If I am stuck on a chapter, I just stick in a note that says “Something amazing happens here” and come back to it.

8: Look at the sign on the wall above my desk that says, “How bad do you want it?” This reminds me that if I want to be a writer I have to write.

7: Skip writing that day and do something fun. If you don’t give yourself permission to take  a day off now and then, writing turns into work.

6: Write for five minutes. I tell myself that all I have to do is write for five minutes. If I still don’t feel like writing after that I can stop. It’s less intimidating.

5: Write (or brainstorm) something else. It’s a way to get back into the creative mood when I am stuck.

4: Nap. It doesn’t always get me writing, by really can you can wrong with a nap?

3: Caffeinate. (Enough said.)

2: Hit myself in the head a couple of times, splash cold water in my face, and look at my deadline.

1:  Put my rear in the chair and put words on the page. It works 100% of the time!

(I am definitely going to have to try #9.  I'm usually so linear, that would be something that could jolt me out of a slump.)

Thanks so much Jeff and Stephanie!  I'm totally ready to write right now.  How about you?


Melanie Goldmund said...

Well, I did spend time writing to-day ... I wrote a talk for church that is about 1300 words long.

I'm rather between stories at the moment, having finished one, and not having decided on something new yet. So, no sprint for me. :-(

Shanda said...

I need to post that top ten list where I can see it every day. And motivate myself with chocolate? BRILLIANT. Now to go get myself some See's....

Debra Erfert said...

Mmmm, chocolates! I'd probably eat them all day long, but I know that would be veeeeerrrry bad for my diet and I'd gain the weight I've lost, and then I'd feel depressed, and then I'd want to sleep so I couldn't see the new fat, and then where would that leave my writing?

Seriously, I'm itching to get back to my writing, no bribes necessary, but I have an art project that is on my drawing table that I've been procrastinating on for much too long, and now I need--need to get to it or I will go buy that huge box of See's and eat the whole thing without reaching any goals first.

Still, my word count for this week is 3,394, for a total of 28,994 on my WIP.

9pm MST? Hmmm, I wonder if Arizona is MST during the summer. Let me check.

Debra Erfert said...

Just found out Arizona is Pacific Standard Time until winter. So I'll check back with you at 8pm. :)

Debra Erfert said...

WHAT??? I so totally didn't see the amazing Jeff Savage's top ten. I must've had a very brief brain aneurysm to miss his top motivational strategies.

Jeff's #1 is number one in my book. #2 is just fun to visualize him doing. #3 works, so does 4, but not together. 7 happens too often with me. :)

Janice Sperry said...

I would totally say more but Jeff Savage said I should nap. So I'm going to take a nap. :)

Rachelle said...

Awesome! Thanks for this great advice. And I took the day off yesterday and went to the water park with my kids, so now I feel all better. :)

Jordan McCollum said...

Love all the tips here! I have to go get jumping!

~T~ said...

My kids are still in school until next Monday. I thought this week woud be good for getting things done, but instead I've been extra busy with their end-of-school stuff. So, only 927 words, but I also submitted a short story.

Rebecca H. Jamison said...

Thanks for the tips. I got in about 3500 words this week. I'm almost done with my draft!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tips, Stephanie, Jeff, and Julie! Now I'm wondering if the young women in Stephanie's stake get extra-spooky stories around the campfire.