Saturday, November 5, 2011

First NaNoWriMo weekend: how will you spend it? Tip #5

The first NaNoWriMo weekend is upon us. How will you spend it? Sure, the errands are calling, there’s a mountain of laundry taller than Mt. Etna and Boardwalk Empire on Sunday night (yay) but don’t let that throw you off track. Figure out a small reward you can give yourself—see the second tip, below—at the end of your daily writing session.

Our first tip is from Sarah McCoy, author of The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico and the forthcoming and highly anticipated The Baker’s Daughter. You can find Sarah on Facebook here, Twitter here and Goodreads here.

"Don’t be afraid of the trash. Make friends with it. Name it. I call mine Basura. That’s just “trash” in Spanish, but the foreignness of the word makes it sound like an exotic place—like I’ve sent those stories to a deserted island, a Neverland where the characters drink from coconuts and play in the surf instead of doing the hard work of growing up. And like Peter Pan and his posse, maybe they will some day. That’s the beauty of Basura. It’s not necessarily a permanent exile. In years to come, a plane of inspiration might fly by and one of the stories might decide it’s ready to leave the island. Other stories may laugh at it and warn that the real world is harsh and full of savage red pens, but it’s made up its mind. It’s felt the calling. After years of rest, that might be its time to develop. I would’ve certainly killed it, smothered it in its infancy, had I been too afraid to let it go—too afraid to close the document and send it to Basura."

Here’s my tip, and it has to do with bribery (also known as a coping mechanism for procrastination, the scourge of writers):

“Reward yourself. The urge to procrastinate will be strong. It will tear at your veins sometimes, cajoling you to get up from your keyboard and break the trance. When this happens, give yourself a deadline—say, writing for 15 minutes more—and a small reward (a snuggle with your pet, a few rows of knitting)—and then go back to work. Or, set aside a reward for the end of your writing time: a pumpkin muffin, that television episode waiting on the DVR, a walk in the woods. Of course, this strategy doesn’t work for the completely impetuous (or impatient.) Know which one works for you: tiny rewards sprinkled throughout the day, or a bigger reward at the end of the session.”

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