Sep 9, 2013

Just do it!


I have a deadline. It’s close. Very, very close. So close I can feel it breathing down my neck and whispering in my ear, “are you going to make it?”

This book has been hard to write. My husband tells me I say that about all my books but it’s difficult to remember the pain when your stories are out in the world and have been (in general) well received.

I totally love my current heroine. I completely understand her motivation and why she behaves the way she does, but I’ve had mixed reactions from critique partners.  I have to admit, some of the feedback has hit my motivation but I know I have to get in there and make it right, make her loveable, make it so readers are barracking for her from the first page. Find a way to reveal her for the fabulous, feisty, flawed heroine she is.

I’m a very goal oriented person, so I don’t let low motivation get in the way of getting to work, but I do have little things that help reinvigorate the spark.  Here are a couple:

  • *    Coffee – the world is a great place as soon as I take the first sip of coffee. Yes, my name is Jennifer St George and I’m a coffee addict. And, I hate to admit it, I’m also a coffee snob.  We have about fifty coffee shops in my town, but I’ll deign to visit only three (don’t hate me)
  • *    Exercise – there’s nothing like a run on the beach, a walk up to the Byron Bay lighthouse, or a gym session to inject those endorphins. I find the hardest part about writing is all the sitting down. I must invest in one of those treadmill desks! (Taking my own advice, I just went for a run and have solved a major plot problem – hooray!)
  • *    My dog – Toffee, our cavoodle, never gets down. She is a walking (not talking) bundle of energy, enthusiasm and joy. She loves everybody and everything (okay, she’s scared of pinecones, but everyone has their foibles). Just seeing her wander through the world, is enough to make me happy. Taking her for a walk is an exercise in improving eagerness
  • *    Reading my favourite authors – I have a lot of romance books. Shelf upon shelf upon shelf.  Sometimes I just need remind myself of the joy of reading.  I grab a book and open at any page and just read a chapter or even a few pages. It’s usually enough to inject the passion
  • *    Just @#$%##@ do it – And when all else fails, there’s the ‘the knuckle down and do it’ approach. It’s this strategy I’m planning to employ for the next few days – wish me luck!
When you feel your motivation ebbing, do you have any little tricks to pump your passion, encourage the endorphins or ignite the inspiration?  I’d love to hear.







20 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer

    Sounds like you have it all under control I do love your stories :)

    For me motivation comes from spending time with my grandchildren or reading a great book or spending some time having a cuppa with a friend talking gets me going all the time :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

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  2. Thrilled that you love my stories, Helen!!!

    Yes, friends are a wonderful way to feel great again, aren't they? I spent yesterday with some of my wonderful romance writer buddies at the Brisbane Writers Festival and we had such a great time together!!

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  3. Jennifer, I hope the BWF was terrific again this year. I keep hearing marvellous things about it.

    You've hit the nail on the head with some of your ideas on how to keep the motivation up. Exercise and fear of the deadline and reading good books is a big help. Bribery can help (if I get x chapters done by this date I can have a day off.

    Good luck with the deadline. I have one approaching and may be coming back to your list. I thought I had a reasonable amount of time but the number of things I've got to do before deadline that aren't writing-related are spiralling out of control. So I'll wish us both luck!

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    1. Thanks, Annie. Yes, I do the rewards thing too. Today I allowed myself a raspberry and chocolate muffin if I didn't move from my seat until lunch-time. Just eat it all up - yum!!

      Good luck with your deadline!

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  4. Jennifer, coffee, walking, reading and @#$%^ doing it, all work for me too. Can't add to that. Good luck with your deadline.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. Today is turning out to be a very productive day, so am feeling a little more on top of things now. Just have to keep this up for the next few days and I think I'll make it!

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  5. You seem to have it cornered, Jen. I always find the lure of an advance quite good motivation too :-)

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  6. Good luck with the deadline, Jen. I'm a stick and carrot girl so I find if I tell myself: do y then you can have x, this usually works. Y usually = word count/pages and x usually = a trip to the coffee shop or chocolate. Hey, whatever works. ;-)

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  7. Thanks, Michelle. I do the same thing too. My second coffee of the day usually revolves around achieving some target. The first one is just a necessity!

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  8. Oh, gosh, I got stuck on the pinecones - your dog is scared of pinecones!?!?! Wow! That's something I'd never think of being scary but I guess there's all those little holes with something waiting to jump out at you.

    I'm a terrible procrastinator - and commenting on posts is a great way to "have a chat" and then get back to it :)

    Must remember your list next time I'm fluffing around. Thanks for sharing it, Jen.

    Best of luck with your deadline - but I know you'll make it even if it almost kills you!

    Cath xox

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    1. I know, Cath, it's hilarious!! My dog, Toffee, will walk right past a snake but will totally freak out at a pinecone.

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  9. Love this post, Jen. And I'll probably be referring back to it often. :)

    So cute that Toffee is scared of pinecones - it makes her unique!

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    1. Thanks, Rachel. I missed seeing you on Sunday!!!

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  10. Clearly I need a dog!!

    But failing that I always have the fear of not making the deadline as a whip to get me motivated! I do exercise most days but I never seem to solve that elusive plot point when doing it, unlike some people (ahem, Sue Mackay!)- I'm usually too busy focusing on just surviving the hour of exercise pain!

    Seriously, I find coffee works well for me and giving myself little rewards. I use a variety of internet blockers on my laptop so I'm not tempted or distracted for an hour or two at a time- then allow myself the reward of some serious facebooking etc once I've completed my session.

    Good luck with the deadline!

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    1. Thanks, Louisa!! Yes, I like the reward system. Unfortunately I've been "rewarding" myself a little too much today which will mean extra exercise tomorrow (sigh!).

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  11. I can so imagine you doing all of those things, Jen. I don't drink coffee and running - blah! But when I'm feeling down, I email my writing friends, talk things over at my writing groups, go out for lunch with my mum/friend/sister (or all of the above), spend time with my hubby and kids trying not to even think about the writing thing, go for a walk, a swim (my mind blanks beautifully when I swim), I play the piano or just get out all the songs I love to sing and sing at the top of my voice, I watch my favourite TV shows (Buffy/Dr Who/Stargate etc) or DVD's, especially the romance ones, and I read, read, read all the things I love and remind myself why I fell in love with writing in the first place. One or many of the above are enough to get me re-energised when I sit down at the computer when I'm feeling low. But do you know what really works for me when I'm down about my writing - writing. When I lose myself in a story or characters, that's what works for me. I'm actually procrastinating at the moment (and commenting at length here) because I'm near the end of my WIP and I love it so much, I don't want to finish it!

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  12. That's so wonderful that you love your WIP so much you don't want to finish, Leisl. I can totally picture you singing your heart out. Perhaps we should have a cabaret at the next RWA conference and you can star!!!! I'd love to hear you sing.

    I find swimming is a great exercise for thinking!! But, it has to be about 40 degrees outside for me to get in the water (and yes I live by the beach). I'm so pathetic!

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  13. Hey Jen

    Great post and the best advice about just sitting down and doing it... okay I'm off to do just that...LOL

    PS You can fix your heroine, you are a fabulous writer and you know you can do it - again and again and again.....

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  14. Thanks so much, Tina!! I should have added, friends make great motivators!

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