Sub titled: How I Churn Out So Much Crap
When you write for a living, you don’t really have the option of waiting for your muse to visit. In fact, I’m not sure the muse has ever visited my place. Perhaps she did, but the place was so messy I didn’t notice her.
In spite of that, I am able to churn out a large amount of written material, some for clients, some for myself. How do I do it? There are basically two steps:
1. Put my ass in the chair.
And, since I am usually lacking inspiration, I have to create my own motivation. I once had the distinct pleasure of witnessing a legendary scene on a stage. A play was in rehearsals and an actor, as part of the scene, was asked to reposition a bench. The actor, very much in earnest asked the director, the renowned founder of Playwrights Horizons Bob Moss, “But what is my motivation for moving the bench?” Without missing a beat, Bob replied, “How about your paycheck?”
In my world, a paycheck is a very strong motivator. In fact, more times than not, it is the only motivating factor.
But sometimes, especially when I am working on my own stuff, I need a bit more of a push. Right now I have 3 marketing tips to write to finish up an ebook. Which is why I am writing this, of course. I churn out a lot of writing while avoiding the writing I am supposed to be doing. But, to give the curious some very real insight into my “process” here is how I will motivate myself to get those three tips done.
The first thing I did was to casually team up with another writer who also had a couple of pieces to churn out. I said, “Let’s do it together. Set a deadline.” She chose a deadline a few days out. I am now at that deadline. I always seem to work better when I am under the deadline gun. I have also created a little bit of public accountability. If she finishes her pieces and I have not finished mine, I look like a schmuck. And I should.
Now, we are not sitting side by side, writing. She is on one side of the country; I am on the other. I am very hopeful that the deadline is close of business HER time, not my time. So I have a few hours to get this done.
Here is how I am currently motivating myself to get these pieces done.
Me, out loud to myself: “If you do one of these, you can have lunch. If you do all three of these, you can have a glass of wine.”
There. That’s it. As I am already pretty hungry, I will probably churn out the first piece, eat and then tackle the other two. I have two hours to do this in. And I’ll bet you that I have my glass of wine by 5:00.
Update: 4:38 pm. All three articles are done. Skipped lunch. Time to enjoy lunch with a glass of wine. See how motivating that is?