Thursday, November 14, 2013

All the Help I Can Get

I'm always on the lookout for ideas to help me stay steady and on task with my writing. When my discipline flags, I get grumpy. When I'm not writing or when it's not going well, it's not good for anyone in this household. The tortoises can at least go into their shells but my poor husband has nowhere to hide….

So, awhile back I came across a system that's been working for me over the last couple of months, and I thought I'd share it with you all, in case any of you need some help, too. I first came across it over on Kate's blog, where she pointed her readers to Victoria Schwab's short video explaining what she calls "The Best Writing Trick I Know." 

Basically what you do is get yourself a calendar and some stickers - whatever kind you want. (Check out Laini Taylor's "Word Count Calendar (Of Cuteness) - even her writing calendar is artistic and creative!) Then, assign a goal to a sticker. In October, my goal was to write fiction - not journal entries, not blog posts, not grocery lists - every day, and so I got a sticker every time I did that…


In November and for NaNo, I get a sticker for every 1,500 words I write. I don't have to do it every day, and I let the word count roll over into the next day, so some days are empty and have no stickers while some days have two….


Now some people might find this silly or juvenile or unprofessional, and they're entitled to their opinions. But, at this point in my writing life, it's working for me. Maybe I'm more of a visual person. Maybe I like seeing my accomplishments in a more tangible  form. Of course, maybe I just like stickers. 

Do you have a similar system? Or any kind of system to get you and keep you motivated? Think you'll give this one a try? 

16 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I like this idea actually. I think it's a good way to set and achieve goals. I don't have a system per se but this post has definitely got me thinking about incorporating one.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I read/heard something similar about putting Xs in each calendar box so it makes a chain, a chain you don't want to break.

As a writer, I think it's sometimes hard to actually "see" progress. This system helps me recognize that I did do something worthwhile that day. :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

That's such a great idea - I love the butterflies. I don't have a reward system, although I do eat chocolate when I'm doing well, and badly, and kind of meh-like... Hmmm, perhaps I haven't understood the meaning of 'reward' :-)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Ha ha ha! Stickers would be much less fattening. Maybe try those Scratch-n-Sniff ones - you'll get the scent without the calories. :)

Jillian Schmidt said...

I've also been doing the sticker system thanks to Victoria :-). I had some adorable cartoon monster stickers around just waiting for such a project. I give myself one for writing 1000 words on the given day, no rolling over, which means I currently have a calendar where a bunch of monsters are partying together on the weekends to make up for how few I earn during work days, ha. Such a simple but genius and fun system. I'm glad it's working well for you!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love the idea of the monsters! It's kind of like a Monster Mash. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I don't do anything like that but my writers' group does a word count thing and give rewards for people who meet their goal everyday. Whatever works.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I never thought about doing the word count idea as part of a writing group. Although I guess NaNo is kind of like that. :)

Julie Flanders said...

I like the idea and love the calendars! I love using calendars anyway and this seems fun and motivating to me.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

It really is fun, Julie. It makes me smile when I look at the happy faces on my November page, and it makes me feel productive as well.

Bevimus said...

One of the lessons that's been hitting me hard and repeatedly in the face this month is how much writing is a sheer numbers game. Writer everyday, get stuff done. Be it finishing a first draft, getting through a round of editing, adjusting scenes based on beta feedback, what have you. But every single published author out there has some kind-of systems to make them write everyday. I... do not. And boy, if I don't get one- it's just never gonna happen.

I love stickers, though- maybe this is just what I need...

Dana said...

I think that sounds like a great system! Maybe next month I'll give it a try. I'm definitely in need of motivation.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

The longer I write, the more I see that everyone of us is different in how we approach our craft. What works for some people, isn't going to work for others. A process that works for one project, might not work for another. And some writers don't write every day - some might craft scenes or explore characters in their mind, then write a draft out in a burst of hours or days. Even my calendar system varies depending on what I'm focusing on that month. You just have to find what works for you, Beverly - and I know you will!!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Give it a shot! It's really working for me. Hey, maybe you could get some sort of baby stickers - storks, rattles, cribs, etc. :)

Cynthia said...

I think it's awesome that you set up a system where you have pretty stickers beaming down at you for a job well done. I don't think this is silly at all. These stickers offer a visual record of the progress you've made. And they're much more fun to look at than bar graphs.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I like a good bar graph, too, but in the time it would take me to make one of those that looked good and made sense, I could've covered an entire wall in stickers. :)