I'm cheating a bit today . . . I actually posted this in March 2011 for the first time. But I'm in MEXICO, baby! So I prescheduled a throwback. What can I say? You get a throwback post, while I'm throwing back those margaritas, baby!
I thought I'd let you in on a little trick I've been using to yank myself up out of my writing rut.
It's kind of like a pull up.
Pull Up: an arm exercise performed by pulling yourself up on a horizontal bar until your chin is level with the bar (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn) (duh)
I STILL hold the record at my elementary school for the most pull ups done at one time by a girl. I think it's like... 28 or something ridiculous like that? (In case you think I'm full of it: I used to be a hardcore gymnast, the number 28 could very well be erring on the low side.)
Now, I'm as old (plus a bit, sigh) as that once amazing pull up number. And I can't even do one measly pull up. Believe me, I know because Hubster bought an over the door pull up bar for P90X and I can barely even hang from it, let alone lift myself.
That is, until I put a chair a few feet away from where the bar hangs and use one foot on the chair to help pull myself up. Then I can do at least . . .
three. a million. eight.
And that's kind of like the writing trick I'm about to share with you. My flipping amazing CP Cristin Terrill suggested it--almost offhandedly--to me, and it works like whoa. She basically revived my WIP with a toss of casual words that acted as that necessary chair under my foot. And now, it's become my mantra on those days when I. just. can't. make. myself. want. to. write. I call it The 30 Minute Hat Trick.
Hat Trick: a clever or adroitly deceptive maneuver. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hat+trick)
Original image (and other REALLY cool optical illusions, found here:
I used to set word count goals for myself. Like, on a day when I really didn't feel like writing, I'd tell myself I'd just get 500 words in, and then I could be done. Except on those days, every single word felt like squeezing blood from a stone (um, and stones don't bleed, fyi). (Double duh.) And one day, I was
complaining about explaining it to Cristin and she threw these little words out that completely changed me:
I stared at her for a minute and I'll admit, I was doubtful. Thirty minutes? How can I call myself a serious writer if I only write for thirty minutes? I'll probably get like... six words done in thirty minutes. Sheesh. But then, thirty minutes are better than no minutes. They're better than spending all day trying to squeeze out 500 words and then feeling like a failure. This way, I could meet my time goal and still feel like I accomplished what I wanted to do--even if I only wrote 6 words.
But guess what happened when I tried it?
Before I started, I spent a little time rereading what I'd written the past few days. Then, I looked at the clock and it was 12:47 (or something like that) so I told myself I just had to make it until--
*pauses to do the math*
The first fifteen minutes or so weren't easy. I won't lie: getting those initial few sentences or paragraphs written is HARD when your creative juices aren't flowing. But then--all the sudden--I looked up and it was 1:13. I only had four minutes left and then I could be done!
Except, I didn't want to be.
And I didn't have to be. I passed my goal by THREE hours--and a few thousand words--that day. And I've had similar success every single time I've used The 30 Minute Hat Trick. I think there's something about that 22 to 26 minute mark where everything clicks into place and the words begin to flow.
So, to make a (holy cow how did this post get so) long story short--when you're struggling to find the motivation to write, try giving yourself a 30 minute goal. And then see how far you end up getting :)
Then, come back here and let me know how it worked!!