Making Yourself Write (when you really don’t want to)

“I hate writing. I love having written.” -Dorothy Parker.

Boy, she sure said it. Some days I absolutely hate writing. I know, I know, I’m a writer. I’m getting published! Ah! But I’m still allowed to hate writing. For you, maybe it’s not first drafting (like it is for me). Maybe it’s editing. In any case, we all have to do things we don’t want to. Here’s how I make myself:

1) Bribes: “If I write X words today, I get a latte!” These words are not uncommon in my life. Replace “a latte” with “a milkshake,” “pizza,” “reading time,” “to watch a movie,” or any number of things, and you have about 90% of my first drafting process. It is perfectly fine to reward yourself if it gets words on the page!

2) Withholding: “No _______ (Facebook, Twitter, chocolate, COFFEE, lattes, once it was even blogging) until I write X words.” This has potential to be very effective, but it can’t be used too many times in a row! Believe it or not, I once got used to life without Facebook.

3) Consequences: “If I don’t get X amount of words written in two weeks, I have to _____!” My most (in)famous consequence was eating a banana. I HATE bananas. The idea of actually eating one makes my palms sweat and my stomach turn. Needless to say, I got the draft done.

4) Internal Motivation: I have a card stuck in my computer monitor that says, “Scuzzy is counting on you to tell her story.” Who is Scuzzy? One of the awesome main characters of my new Work in Progress. You are the creator of your characters. Nobody can tell their stories but you. So get to it!

5) Writing buddies: Who exactly keeps me from hitting the lattes before it’s time? Who catches me on Facebook and gleefully awaits the great banana-eating of 2015? My buddies, of course! Now don’t give “Make sure I write” duty to just any new CP you’ve dug up. You want a friend whose friendship won’t be put on the rocks just because they wouldn’t meet you for coffee until you wrote. They don’t even have to be writing buddies- just people who aren’t afraid to say, “Have you written today?”

What do you do? How do you stay motivated to keep writing? What project are you avoiding right now?

2 thoughts on “Making Yourself Write (when you really don’t want to)

  1. aubreyleaman says:

    I can definitely relate to the bribing strategy! I’m kind of (really) a workaholic who always has to be ahead of the game, so my trick is to tell myself that I will do X amount of work a day so that I’ll end up doing about twice as much! But without a minimum goal I tend to stress about the work more than actually doing it.

    • Laura Lee Anderson says:

      Exactly- even if it’s only 10 minutes, that 10 minutes turns into 20, then 30… A lot of times, my husband will get me to write by saying, “Just write 100 words!” and once that 100 words is over, I’m on a roll and don’t want to quit. 🙂

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