What’s your Writerly Style of Self Motivation: Dominatrix or Loving Kindness?

You might think that it’s a really bad idea to tell people that you’re writing a book. Wouldn’t it be better to just keep it under the radar?  In the past I would have said “Yes, definitely. Don’t tell anyone anything. Save face. No overly optimistic predictions about the future.” But, I’ve changed my mind. I have decided why not put your intent out to the world? Spread the word. Start the marketing early. And, here’s my rationalization: Shame as the great motivator. Because if I don’t accomplish writing this book, I will feel shame. Just the thought of that is motivating me.  It’s also giving me heart palpitations but whatever.

There I go again using the hardass approach to motivation when I forgot that I’m trying to be nicer to myself.  I’m aiming for self compassion. And, that probably sounds more like, ‘Gayle, my precious, you really want to do this. Let the light out. You have great stories to tell about a lovely place.  Imagine how fantastic you are going to feel knowing that you proclaimed a writing goal and then you accomplished it. Even better, you’ll have a tangible record of a three-year period in your life that really mattered to you and if that isn’t enough, you’ll be doing a community service by fueling or quelling the fantasies of anyone who has ever dreamed about ditching wherever and whoever and heading for a Southern Gulf Island. Sweet!’

But, alas, I’m not all bubble gum and altruism. Ya think? The real and very selfish reason for telling people about some of what I’m working on is that two heads are almost always better than one as revealed to me recently when I told a friend about a character and how I wasn’t  sure how to end the story.

“Well, based on what you’ve told me, there is never going to be an ending for her.” And, that’s all it took. Just one seemingly minor insight gave me an idea about how I might proceed.

Then, earlier this week, I was going for a walk wearing my pedometer aiming for a minimum of 12,000 steps. Why, as an aside, I must ask you, does wearing that thing makes me feel like I’ve been let out on a daypass from a $6,000 a month assisted living senior’s residence?  Anyway, I was walking down one of my favourite streets. A guy wearing a pair of overalls living out his “I’m a Prairie farmer fantasy” was organizing a big dump of wood into a pile in his very suburban driveway.  I’d admired his wood pile a few days previously so I smiled at him and complimented his wood. How’s that for a pickup line? He proudly proclaimed that he heated his house that way. Wood creates smoke so no need to be so smug, I thought, but I held my tongue. Instead, I told him how much I loved to chop wood when I lived on Salt Spring and my cottage had a wood stove. “Yes,” he said, “it’s not just the chopping, it’s the entire process  that I love.” And, when he said that, I realized immediately what I needed to do in my wood chopping story.

So, you see, it’s critical to keep your writing projects top of mind, at the forefront of your imagination and with the chosen people, right on the tip of your tongue. You never know when someone else, friend or stranger, might have insights that will help you with the plot, the beginning and maybe even the ending.   Do you have any tricks to keep yourself writing?

Do you choose the dominatrix or loving kindness style of self motivation when it comes to creative writing?