Ineffective Motivation

I’m not sure when I started doing this, but for the past year or so I’ve treated reading books as a reward. If I have a project hanging over my head that I really need to finish I won’t allow myself to start a new book until I’ve finished it. I love reading so in theory this is a great way to keep me on track, but really it just makes me grouchy.

Reading is an escape for me, always has been, and I can get lost in a matter of pages. Screaming kids on a plane? Not in my world. Screaming weirdos on a bus? Well, maybe I hear them, but that goes back to the safety issue I talked about on Friday. I love getting sucked into a world someone else has lovingly created and forgetting about my own life for awhile.

*hums Billy Joel*

So back to my motivation. You’d think that by depriving myself of this joy I’d hurry up and finish my project (in this case my synopsis), right? Well… not so much. Instead I stare longingly at my TBR (to be read) shelf and grumble (internally) about this stupid synopsis.

What’s your motivation when all you want to do is lie on the couch and eat bon bons?

Exciting side note: My mom and I are going to see author David Baldacci tomorrow night! Maybe HE’LL write my synopsis for me.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.

18 Comments

  1. I don’t like bon bons, so that helps. Also, the couch is downstairs, and that would require getting up. Much more preferable to sit in my chair and goof off on the ‘net.

    When I need to work though, I try and cut off distractions (close my browser, turn off podcasts etc) and force myself to stick with it. After the first 30min or so, I find I’d much rather write than goof. πŸ™‚

    Adam

    PS – “Poke-a-Hoo-tas”

  2. Motivation ebbs and flows. Again, I think it’s harder to motivate in this direction when many of your internal needs are already met. That “stay hungry” sort of feeling. However, there’s always something.

    I might get someone else to fill the “stick” role in your carrot-and-stick routine. The books might not be a close enough motivator to get you moving. Find that things that VERY close to you that need. Take those away. Have someone else dole them out based on your productivity. Rinse. Repeat.

    Finally, one more hint: break this synopsis out in parts. Maybe start with the most basic things: 1> Man gets chased up tree, 2. People throw rocks at home 3. Man gets down from tree. Then embellish that with necessary details. Either ay, take the overwhelming and make smaller and smaller until each part of the overwhelming is nothing more than a simple task leading to another eventually leading to successful conclusion.

    • Thanks Jason. πŸ™‚ I’d love to have someone to dole out my rewards, but I don’t have anyone to do it! (Although truthfully I’d probably just demand they give it to me anyway…)

      Great suggestions for the synopsis. I finally wrote it Monday afternoon and now I just need to pare it down.

  3. I’ve tried those self-imposed rewards, but my rebellious side scoffs at them and me and grabs the reward anyway. I am usually better off waiting for lightening to strike; when I explode with the sudden urge to finish whatever it was I needed to finish.

    Good luck with your synopsis and enjoy your time with David Baldacci!

  4. Reading helps me write, so I’m more of an instant gratification girl. I set my timer so it goes off in 25 minutes, then in 5 minutes, rinse and repeat. I work for 25 minutes, then I Facebook or play games or read for 5 minutes. Every three or so hours I read for a bit. If I’m not reading, my writing slows to a snail’s pace.

    But that’s just me! It’s hard to find the right balance. And for you, who’s working a full-time job besides, you probably need a little bon-bon time!

  5. kevin

    Personally I too go with the ‘reward’ system. However, I have found an interesting trend myself. Dishes… Scourge of my household chores! No matter what, I am filled with negative energy everytime I do dishes. What’s ‘funny’ is I never realized I didn’t like doing them. So now I puruposefully put myself in a ‘happy place’ by doing them. I look at them as a reward and remind myself how much better I feel after they are done. I know-Lame right? But you would be surprised how much it works.

  6. I’m banking on David Baldacci. I don’t have any good rewards for myself. I try to brainwash myself by repeatedly saying, “Just think how good you’ll feel once you finish it!” It doesn’t work well, because I just tell me to shut up.

  7. I’m not very good at bribing myself. My inner rebel will sit down in passive resistance. Me: “Self, don’t you want ________?” Self: “No.” Me: “But you really like ______.” Self: “So?” Me: “Well, you’ve gotta do _____ to get _______.” Self: “Nuh uh.” And then nothing gets done, nothing whatsoever.

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