How do you trick yourself into getting your words done? Because we all do that, right? I don't believe there's a writer out there who doesn't sit down each day with a frisson or soupcon or smidge or enormous steaming cauldron of dread, convinced this is the day when the magic ends, the inspiration runs dry.
But you either make yourself do it or you don't.
Lots of us choose the latter route, sometimes for years. It's been a while since I discussed the six-year (!!!) dry spell I had, when I did more whining than writing. But yeah, that happened.
Eventually we figure out how to force ourselves to roll that boulder up the hill, and I'm convinced most of us use little bribes. Some of you may know I'm a big fan of 45/15s (so simple - you write for 45 solid minutes and then you have 15 minutes to do whatever you want) because they have a built-in reward. But I have scores of others.
Lunch is a big one. I'm so lunch-motivated, it's pathetic. I'll do just about anything for a handful of Fritos. But if I tell myself it's 1500 words before lunch, well, then it's 1500. I don't cheat. I'm a bitch of a boss.
Lying on the floor with Dog is good (or, in the summer when the kids are home, lying on the floor with Junior, who's always up for it). I've also convinced myself that it's good for you. After all, it unrolls that spine that's been all bent while you've been working.
Getting the mail, seeing what's on offer at Fab.com, looking at Jonathan Hayes' photos (especially the private collection ones!), and texting Nicole Peeler when she is in the middle of a lecture are all treats.
But you need something bigger for finishing up for the day. I mean, every time you finish your words, (or your editing, if that's where you're at) - that's a huge victory, right? You proved you were a real author for another day, and that's - wow, that's so big I can't think of the right word for it. It's everything.
I'm sure you have your own idea of what's called for. I imagine TR Pearson popping a top on a Pabst, sitting on the porch and throwing pork rinds at the hound, for instance. I imagine Elizabeth George doing a little yoga and listening to Ted talks podcasts. Whatever floats one's boat.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- going to Home Depot and putting paint chips in my purse for that shoplift-y thrill
- going to Sephora and spraying a dozen different perfumes all over myself
- eating dinner at a dive in Chinatown while reading a book
- walking to the top of Mountainview cemetery at sunset and watch the city turn on its sparkle
- ...and, of course, that perennial favorite - a Grand Avenue nail shop
Lordy do I ever need a manicure
Would love to know what you all do to get through the words, especially if it's an idea I can steal...