Have you ever heard someone say ‘I work better under pressure?’ I always thought it was just some insane form of self-punishment. That, or a justification for procrastinating. While I still believe these are viable explanations, I’m beginning to see a third that oddly suits me.
That is, of course, that the pressure of a deadline increases one’s incentive.
When I first started writing God-Chosen, it was for NaNoWriMo. I had all the incentive I needed to write. I had an enforced deadline, daily goals, and a fun group of people who were trying to do the same. Overall, I found NaNoWriMo to be pretty easy, and finished my 50,000 words by the 23rd. That was getting into a busy time of the year for me, so I took a (justifiable) break from writing, even though my novel was yet unfinished.
But even as things calmed down, I still hadn’t touched God-Chosen. Why? Because I lacked the incentive. It was just me, trying to force myself to write. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to write! I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t enjoy it. But when it comes down to it, sure I could write, or I could read more of that book, or I could play a new game, go out with friends, or even [insert fun activity here]. Nobody cared if I was writing, not even my fellow WriMos.
Well I got that incentive back as June came closer. The deadline for the ‘free proof’ for NaNo winners was July first (thought I thought it was June first). And of course I managed to finish all 95,000 words of God-Chosen in time, and even managed to revise it a bit before the July 1 deadline. And then I never got the free proof from CreateSpace. For a very good reason, too: I didn’t want to self-publish the first draft of my first novel. Looking back at God-Chosen now that I’ve improved as a writer, I’m very glad I made that choice.
Now I’m trying to revise God-Chosen. I mean completely revise it, paying careful attention to Motivations and Reactions, Showing and Telling, Scenes and Sequels, and all that fun stuff. I’m also working on making my characters far more realistic and adding to my storyworld to make it more engaging for readers. It will be a lot of work, of course, and I would like to finish it by November so I can start fresh on a new novel for NaNoWriMo, but something is still missing. Yup. Incentive. But why now? I have a deadline I set for myself, and from there it’s pretty easy to set up daily goals…
Revising God-Chosen would be a challenge and a great exercise in revising, which I will inevitably have to do with any novel I finish anyways. But what if God-Chosen is so flawed that it’s not even worth revising? What if it’s just beyond hope and trying to fix it would be like sharpening a pencil that has no graphite in it?
I need some sort of driving force, just like a character needs motivation to reach his or her goal. Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Pro would probably help, but I can’t justify the cost with my minimalist self.
Thus, we have come to my solution: A group of people of varying skill levels who are all serious about writing. A group to admire accomplishments, trade advice, critiques, and encouragement. And of course, this could all be electronic. No need to bother with the whole ‘location’ bit at all! The only problem now is how to find such people? Are you perhaps one of them? Where do you find your incentive, and what do you do when you find you lack it?
Stay Happy, Remain Beautiful