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Monday
Feb132006

The Ultimate In Writer's Discipline

I'm not sure I'm brave enough to do it.  But the fact that it scares the beejeezus out of me makes it think this might be worthwhile.

I'm talking about a  put up or shut up technique I read about in one of my on-line writer's e-zines. The concept is simple.  A deterrent is used to keep a writer writing. For example, let's say a writer such as myself has the goal of turning out 5 pages of new work a week. According to this article, I buddy up with someone who is my truth keeper. I.E., I have to turn in my 5 pages every week to them so they know I'm on track.  If I don't  turn in my work, I get something taken away from me. 

The example this article gave was that a die-hard liberal Democrat writer (such as moi) would have write a check to the Republican party if  the 5 pages aren't met on deadline.  The article cited a $500 check for each missed deadline, which seems a bit much to me.  But even a $50 check would deter me.  Frankly, a .05 cent check would make me blanch.  I'd sooner bleed to death than give money to the Republican party.  So I see it as a great motivator for getting the work done on time.

(And lest it be said I'm picking on the Republicans, just switch it.  If you're a die-hard conservative, imagine you have to write a $50 check to Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign.  Hear the screaming in your head?  That's what I'm experiencing).

Rewards don't work.  I've promised myself clothes or shoes or whatever, but the fact is I don't care that much if I don't get those things, so it's not a motivator.  Having to write a check to the Republican party though...that would kill me.  Or rather, I think it would INSPIRE me to get done what needs to be done. Really, if it came down to the wire and I had to stay up to 3AM to finish my work or send $50 to the party I oppose, I'm pretty sure my butt would be up at 3AM. And I'm not doing that now.  Now, I think, "Eh, it's late.  I'll try to find time to work on that tomorrow." 

I'm embarrassed it may take such a strong incentive to get me to do work I'm supposed to WANT and LOVE to do. But I really think the deterrent is more a way to push past the fear.  It's easy to not do the work because I'm afraid it won't be good, I won't be able to finish it, I'll get stuck, etc.  And all that may happen.  But wonderful things may  happen too. The point is though, unless I start writing more, NOTHING will EVER happen.

So I'm close. The fear I feel at committing to this path is strongly tinged with excitement.  It's a challenge, and I like challenges. And I shouldn't be afraid.  This is do-able.  Plus, it makes me prioritize something I've been too willing to put aside.

Any thoughts?

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Reader Comments (1)

Are you sure you aren't taking the "joy" of writing? Or to receive a punishment to receive something pleasureable seems a little masochistic (but definitely do it!!!)

February 13, 2006 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMom

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