On Sunday nights, I often lie in bed wondering what I’m going to blog about on Monday mornings. Never mind I could have written the post earlier. I am such a procrastinator. Deadlines force me to complete a task. The prospect of company arriving ensures that I’ll (finally) clean the house. Running out of clothes means I have to do laundry. I often wish I had an Alice like the “Brady Bunch” family.
What does work for me is a challenge. My writing group (Mid-Michigan RWA) provides several. At our meetings each month we offer “Write For The Money” where anyone who wants to participate writes down a goal for the month and throws in a dollar. The following month, a name is drawn out of those who met their goal and that person get the money. Sometimes it pays for lunch. Another challenge is “I Will Write A Book.” It should be called “I Will Finish the Darn Book.” Each year those who choose to participate set a goal to complete a book (or books) by November 30th. As an incentive, we pay $5.00 per title. Again, a name is drawn out of those who finished the book. That person gets half of what was collected and the chapter gets the other half. Money can be a very nice incentive.
Our latest challenge is patterned after National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that only happens in November. Ours happens each month. Instead of a set goal like NaNo of writing 50,000 words in the month, we set our own goal. Our illustrious “captain”, Alyssa Alexander, organizes the participants then starts us off. Each day we report on the number of words we’ve written. Although there’s no money involved, being held accountable works. I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo because the timing was never right. Usually in November I’m promoting a new release. And I didn’t participate in my chapter’s until this month. The timing was perfect.
I’m writing the third book in my science fiction romance Outer Rim series. Thanks to help from several sources, I finally have a title. The Protector. After dogging around, getting stuck, and letting “life” take priority, I knew I had to buckle down and finish the book. At the beginning of this month, I was only halfway through a 100k story. So when Alyssa put out the call for participants for March (MarNoWriMo) that was the incentive I needed. But that meant no going back and editing each day. No time.
Someone once called my method “circular writing”—write some, go back and tweak, write more, go back and edit, write more, etc. Hey, if it has a name there must be others who do it. Right? Usually that method is given as an example of what not to do. My theory is do what works and that worked for me. Sure, it slows down the writing. But when you set a goal of writing x number of words in a month, you don’t have time to circular write. You have to keep going forward. What a novel experience. (Pun intended.)
So I set a goal of writing 25,000 words in March. Not even a thousand words a day. Since writing is my only job (unlike many in our group), I figured I could do that. That meant in two months, if I kept up the pace, I could finish The Protector. As an added incentive, Baby Girl is supposed to arrive at the beginning of May. I’m not going to want to even think about writing while playing with my newest grandchild.
That challenge was all I needed for my story to take off. My sweet Muse must have been sitting on my shoulder grinning for all she was worth. Either that or cracking her whip. Yesterday I not only reached my goal, I surpassed it by nearly 200 words. And it was only the middle of the month! I am on a roll.
Unfortunately tax time is around the corner (another deadline) and I haven’t collected all I need to take to our preparer. Also unfortunately, I’ll spend lots of time gathering all our expenses only to find out the standard deductions are more. Still, I have to do it. Just in case.
Obviously challenges and deadlines keep me from procrastinating. Thanks to MarNoWriMo, I’ll keep pushing the story along. After all, I need to find out how The Protector ends.