Wednesday, March 02, 2016

IWSG: Do You Know How You Eat an Elephant?

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecuritiesIf you're a writer, join in!



How do you eat an elephant?



Like any big goal you have in life, writing a novel can feel a lot like eating an elephant. The task is so gigantic, you just don't know where to start. If you do start, you stall because it's just so overwhelming.



As life gets in the way, it can be easy to set writing aside for another day. We have more important things to do. Like:



And:



And:



But what can be more important than pursuing our dreams? Yet when we put them off until tomorrow, days turn into weeks and soon it will be January 2017 and we'll have let another year slip by.



Instead of trying to tackle your entire WIP in one day, I have a new idea for you writers out there. Try Club 100. Someone told me about it when I was writing romance back in the early 00s. Here's how it works. For 100 days you commit to writing 100 words a day. You can write more, but not one word less. Just 100...that's maybe a couple of paragraphs. When you finish your 100 days, give yourself a reward and start over. See how many times you can avoid breaking the chain.

When you're finished, there's a badge at this site for your efforts. It looks like this:



It's an oldie, but it worked for me back in the day. Maybe it will help you!

Do you use any special tricks to motivate yourself?

61 comments:

  1. That's the key. Finding what works.
    Challenges like NaNo work for me. I need the deadlines and motivation. And I hate to lose.

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    1. I know a LOT of books have been written in November because of that!

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  2. What works for one doesn't for another. I'm more likely to write in big gulps and have days I don't get any writing done, but it does work for me. One day I wrote 10,000 words, but that was a day without interruptions and I was highly motivated!

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    1. I've found if I don't write for too many days in a row, I start to get out of my story...then I have to go back and remind myself where I was going!

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  3. What a great challenge! I try to write everyday. Some days I write a lot. Other days, not so much. It is a great habit to create.

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    1. It is! And 100 words is doable no matter how busy we think we are. It's usually only a couple of paragraphs...but often I end up writing way more. I try to do 250 words a day when I'm not on deadline...500-1,000 if I am. Since I freelance write for a living, I'm writing 2,000 words a day on top of my fiction.

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  4. I have a goal of 700 words a day. That seems to work and more often than not, I write more, but not less.

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    1. That's awesome! I remember days when I wrote 20 pages of a manuscript...I had that young energy. I write 2,000 words a day but those are for clients...I have to force myself to work in my "me" writing, which is what I call my fiction work!

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  5. This is a great idea. Maybe I will try it!

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    1. Give it a try--and pitch more publications. You have the beginnings of a professional freelance career.

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  6. Great idea! I tend to work better with deadlines, although the ones I set for myself don't work quite as well as the ones that come from elsewhere. :)

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    1. I know, right? Why do we put others first? We always do, though...and we feel guilty when we don't.

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  7. I now think I ned to join. I'm working on my story and teaching my weekly class. I only wish I could find a local writing group or class for more support and ideas.

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    1. Join IWSG? It's great! I'm not sure what type of writing you do, but if it's romance, RWA has a great network with local chapters that usually have monthly meetings. I think you can attend a meeting or two without joining, so give it a try. SCBWI is for children's writers and there aren't many meetings. We have "schmoozes" every now and then, but it's not the same as a meeting. Meetup.com is also a great way to find local writing groups.

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    2. I have looked on Meetup.com, but to no avail. I'm in a book club for women thru meetup in my town, but few other groups exist in my town. If you only knew what it was like where I live....

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  8. What a great idea. I used writing for a minimum of five minutes. I always did more. But I love this.

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    1. I wrote 200 words in the wrong direction a few minutes ago, erased it all, then started over. I allowed myself to stop at just over 100 words...technically I wrote 300 words! 200 of them were just crap.

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  9. This is cool! With all that's been going on, I've been struggling with writing lately. But I told myself that as soon as I visit blogs today, my butt is in chair (or on couch) until it's time to pick up from preschool. :)

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    1. I'm having a hard time staying in the chair today...and I have a lot of work that needs me to. I'm trying to make myself sit here and work for at least an hour!

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  10. I love this idea! Somebody, I can't remember who, once said, "By the yard, it's hard. By inch by inch, it's a cinch." So true!

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    1. That's great...and it rhymes, so it's easy to remember!

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  11. Yeah, but what's the trick to edit and revise? I can spit out words without a problem. It's making them make sense afterward that's the challenge.

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    1. Me, too. That's always the tough part. If I've gotten feedback, I often will do as many of the edits as I can until I get to one that's too complicated...then I set it aside and come back to it the next day!

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  12. Oh I'm always productive in a deadline-induced panic,though often not as creative :-( But since I find challenges irresistible, I welcome one and all! 100 words? I tend to write more than that on a work order - drives my guys nuts ;-)

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    1. I think my emails and Facebook comments are often longer than 100 words.

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  13. The only time I seem to get motivated to write anymore is when I see something that reminds me of something like eating the elephant at the top of this post. My Mom was fussing at Daddy for buying a new hunting rifle once. He retained his love of hunting for food from his childhood when he had to. He told her "this" rifle would take down an elephant in one shot. Mom asked him where in the hell he expected to find an elephant to prove that to her? Dad never shot anything he wouldn't eat. He asked Mom if she would like to go to Africa to hunt. She told him the US had enough wild game to eat and she damn sure didn't want to have to eat an elephant. They were a hoot. :)

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    1. Oh wow. That's hilarious! Your parents sound FUN!

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  14. Oh I like this! I had a psychology professor who told us that elephant quote at least once a week. And it's so true! I tend to forget that. Thank you for the Club 100 website. I've thought of doing something like that but I really need accountability. Happy IWSG Day!

    Jen

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    1. Maybe it'll become popular again!

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  15. That's a great challenge. I challenge myself to write one paragraph a day. How hard will it be to write just one paragraph I ask myself. And it usually turns into one page. A year of that and you have a novel, right?

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    1. Exactly. You almost always end up writing more once you sit down and start.

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  16. What a great idea! I'll have to share that with a certain writer I know who is feeling overwhelmed.

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  17. That seems like a great idea. Sometimes things do look so large they become overwhelming. This will size it down to manageable. Love it.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  18. This is so me!!!!!!!
    I let far too much get in my way of being a writer.
    I'm actually VERY anxious and nervous to begin such a goal. But I want to be a writer, I shouldn't let ANYTHING stand in my way! Thanks for the suggestion.

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  19. Awesome. I joined a Facebook group where we report our daily word count and that one helped for a while. I really don't need much motivation. I did the 1000 day journal challenge when I was a teenager (13). It took until I was 18 to complete, but it got me accustomed to writing every day no matter what.

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  20. Lately I've been keeping a bullet point agenda for my days. Sometimes visiting blogs is on the list (like today), sometimes not. I set a writing goal for each day, but never more than 500 words. I often write more than that, but 500 seems do-able.

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  21. That sounds like a good challenge for me. I'm going to give it a try! Thanks for sharing!

    Squirrel Talk

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  22. Great idea! I always get paranoid about time slipping away from me, but then I always find that I haven't done as much writing as I would've liked. I think I need to do a challenge like this to motivate to get some serious writing done again!

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  23. I've been struggling lately with finding the time to write. The will is there, and I think I'm going to break through soon. I'm spending a lot of time working on my health, and cooking, food shopping, exercise and the related clean-up can be time consuming. I'm hoping to meet all my goals without sacrificing one for the other. I may check out Club 100. By the way, my latest blog post is about exactly this. I wrote a short fiction piece where my novel narrator confronts me about my writing habits.

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    1. P.S. Although it's already familiar, I really like the "eating an elephant" analogy. It makes so much sense.

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  24. I did the 300 words a day challenge to get down the start of an adult novel I just couldn't get the words out on. I have put it aside for a while to do other projects but I have 10,000 words which is way more than the hardly 1,000 I could type before taking on the challenge. This challenge sounds like a great helping too.

    But the elephant bite thing crept me out. I got the analogy but still....

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  25. One bite at a time...so true. Great post!

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  26. Definitely sounds like a great idea to me. Taking it a bit at a time does make things easier. Thank you for sharing about the 100 day challenge;) I will give it a try.

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  27. I'm writing a love story would you believe?
    Very interesting project but at 6,000 words it is way too short for a novel but too long for a short story . . . oh she is so difficult to 'pull' . . . but the guy is very persistent and she came round eventually . . . aww

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    1. So I suppose one bite at a time is true . . . :)

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  28. My teacher asked us that question long ago. I still remember the answer.

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  29. Club 100 is a great idea and doable and a goal that is easily quantifiable. Thanks, Stephanie! I usually set my goal as getting through a scene instead of actual word count b/c I find tracking numbers distracting and my mind doesn't work that way, but with just 100 as the daily goal that's not too bad.

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  30. Love your pictures. When I set goals or word counts I stay with them for awhile, but then I don't. I'm trying.

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  31. Good Post, Stephanie!!!!

    When life calms down, I try to set a goal at 1k a day during the week. But, I don't get upset if my goal isn't met. I only hope that what I have written is somewhat worthy.

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  32. Starting is so important. So are manageable goals. That's a great challenge.

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  33. This sounds like a good idea and after 30 days you would have written at least 3000 words. :) I might give this a try to keep myself on track. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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  34. I love that idea 100 words for 100 days idea. I think that might be what I need to stay motivated through the end of the school year. What motivates me is writing to a timer. If I'm really stuck on writer's block, I challenge myself to write as much as I possible can in 5 minutes, or 10. Whatever I'm in the mood for. It forces me to produce something, and not always complete garbage, and breaks through my block.

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  35. How do I motivate myself? Coffee.
    Hahaha no seriously. A visit to my favourite cafe with a cup of coffee in my hand signals my brain to start writing stuff :P But I don't set words as a marker of a good day but "scenes". I tell myself: Okay, today I write one scene. And that makes me happy cos it can be 100 words or more :) and I feel like I'm making definite, measurable progress to my WIP.

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  36. I think I'll try this. At least I'll be getting something down. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  37. hi! New follower here :) I seriously needed to read this today! As much as we love it, writing can be a very daunting task... especially when life and all the tidbits in between get in the way. I love the 100 words a day challenge idea though, great way to at least start and make some headway :)

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  38. Congratulations to you, and to all the other writers who perservere. You enrich my world.

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  39. Great post! That's what I told my boys when they were growing up and a task looked too big-"One piece at a time!"

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  40. This looks like a great challenge. I always have to start with an outline, because if I know the major steps in a manuscript, then I won't stall. I can draft between two weeks to two months because of my outlines. They're my biggest motivators to get me writing. When I look at them and cross off chapters as I write them, I feel accomplished.

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  41. The one trick that works for me is thinking of the writers I know who have multi-book contracts they earned and now need to fulfill. If I want that, I can't get there if I don't finish books. Great post!

    Here's my IWSG March post: How to Succeed at Twitter Without Really Trying

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  42. Writing challenges help me a little, but I find I'm most motivated by reading a good book.

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  43. I've fallen in love with Habitica.com, but I love the idea of that 100-word challenge. It might be just the thing to get me going again.

    Thanks, Stephanie!

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