Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Guest Blogger W. R. Gingell

Some weeks ago, I had the great fortune of reading a fantastic book called Spindle by W. R. Gingell.  After reading it, I had the honor of getting to know it's author, the wonderful W. R. Gingell herself.

She has most kindly agreed to be a guest blogger today with a topic that I find very applicable to myself, and which I think every author could relate to.  Her advice, I think is extremely wise and helpful.  Included in this blog post are links to her books.  I've only read Spindle, so I don't know about the others, but if they're anything like Spindle, they're all great books!

Writing is more often than not something that happens when we motivate ourselves to do it.  It's not often that someone else is breathing down our necks, compelling us to write.  And so having something to motivate us when we don't feel like writing is incredibly helpful.  With that said, I very happily turn the time over to
W.R. Gingell.

W. R. Gingell
I’m actually kind of lazy. It’s a big drawback in everyday life, where I put off the cleaning and hard work until half an hour before I head out to the day job, and washing the clothes until the very day I need them. My poor car has needed a wash since last year, and my chair in the living room is always surrounded by myriad books, craft items, pairs of glasses, remote controls, and tissues. This is because I don’t like getting up again after I’ve sat down.

Twelve Days of Faery
I’m even lazy when it comes to doing stuff I really like. For example, I quite enjoy sewing clothes, but when I’ve got a project going it usually takes me months to complete, simply because I won’t get up and do the work. I’ll gloat over the prospect of it, and the concept of it, without steeling myself to actually do it. Thus it is that my sewing projects usually spend a few months out on the dining room table, driving my husband to distraction and supplying the dog with tiny pieces of fabric to chew on when food isn’t immediately forthcoming.

With writing, laziness is a big disadvantage. There aren’t many jobs you can do where your output depends solely upon your own discipline to produce it, but writing is one of those jobs. It’s one of the big things that separates the authors from the scribblers: the ability to get past the Bright, Glittering Idea and go on to laboriously chip out words each and every day until the Idea is no longer Idea but Story in manuscript form. Realising that was the big turning point in my writing life. I knew that I’d either have to put my nose to the grindstone, or spend the rest of my life dreaming about writing instead of really writing.
I began to make myself write each day. At first it was only fifty words here, a hundred there. Then, as the years passed and I became more determined that I was going to be a real writer, I set myself a proper word count every day.

First that word count was 500 words. Then, a year ago, I found myself able to do more and put my word count up to 1000 words per day. I began to feel as though I was really getting somewhere.

Fire in the Blood
Still, there are days when I just don’t feel like writing. Those are the days when I have to force myself to write, or my laziness will take over for whole weeks of indolence. Since I don’t notice a difference in the quality of my writing when I’m on a roll and my writing when I’m forcing myself to write, the obvious answer is that I need to write whether or not I feel like it.

Ruth and the Ghost
So I bribe myself. I do try to do most things without self-bribery, but when it comes to writing my best word output is gained by bribery, and hey! who wants to mess with a winning system? At first it was chocolates and bacon, and the gleeful idea that when I finished this 500 words I could get up and make a cuppa. Then I came across Victoria Schwab on Twitter, and she introduced me to the method of bribery I currently use: stickers! All you need is one calendar and stickers of your choice (for me that means stars and little sticker men with big hats). Each sticker has a designated value—for example, every star sticker I put on the calendar stands for 500 words written (or 1500 words edited)—and once I’ve written 3000 words in a single day, I put a little sticker man with a big hat on the square as well. It works perfectly for me, since I adore stickers. And nowadays, there are a lot more days when I write 3000+ words.

It’s not the perfect solution to my laziness, but it does give me a bit of an incentive to make an effort. And for those days when the stickers pall, there’s always the chocolate and bacon to fall back on....

No comments: