I never need to find motivation to edit someone else’s work. Deadlines provide proper motivation. But finding motivation to write has proven elusive… until recently.
I like stickers. When I was in elementary school, I had a pretty good sticker collection. I still like them (there’s something incredibly satisfying about sticking a sticker on something), but there’s really not a lot to do with stickers when you’re an adult who has no children to reward nor many letters to friends to send. I also enjoy a good annual planner, but I don’t have much need for one because I use the Google calendar since it’s easy to access everywhere.
Nonetheless, I found myself with a planner for 2016, and I decided I would use it just for writing-related activities. The plan was that I would plan out my writing and that would motivate me. Well… that didn’t work out well. After a few days of that failing, I decided I needed to set a goal, make it an easy goal, and give myself a sticker in the planner if I met the goal. My goal would be to write at least 100 words a day.
Childish? Perhaps. But it works for me.
Now, 100 words is easy. Even on days where I’m swamped, I can spit out 100 words. They may be words that will end up completely cut from the story, or they may be words that are simply part of an outline, but it doesn’t matter. The point is I spit out 100 words. I do that, I get a sticker for the day in my planner.
This works fabulously! There is the rare day where it’s all I can do to write 100 words and I claim my sticker and I’m done. I still call it good because it reinforces the habit of writing every day, and 100 words is better than nothing. But my problem is starting to write, not continuing to write. One hundred words is enough for me to get the ideas flowing and my fingers typing, and I usually have a decent writing session, just because that sticker was enough motivation for me to sit down and do something in a story.
A final note: Editing and rewriting is obviously a huge part of writing, and I get a sticker if I’m doing that for the day. Totally counts. I don’t track words when I’m in editing mode for the day since things are cut and things are added. If I sit my butt down and do some editing, I get my sticker. Once I’m in the weeds of a rewrite, I always make good progress; the sticker is the motivation needed for me to dive into those weeds.