Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kari's Kave: To Sabotage or Not To Sabotage...

Have you ever pushed yourself and been amazed at what you could accomplish?

It's like with a diet. When you truly push yourself and stick to the plan, the results are amazing. Yet when you sabotage your efforts by filling your life with temptations and distractions, it's so easy to get off track.

Same with exercise. Whether you're training to run a marathon or lifting weights, etc, you will never improve the distance you can do or the amount of weight you can lift unless you stick with it and keep going. Push yourself to take that next step.

The same is true with writing.

The first thing to do is figure out how much per hour you can write. My day consists of six hours between the time my youngest gets on the bus until my oldest gets home from school. For me, I usually write four to five pages an hour. Then figure out how many hours you realistically have. I usually strive for two to three hours a day Monday through Friday. My average page count ends up being about fifty pages a week. That still gives me evenings and weekends off, as well as having an hour or so to spend on promotion.

So why is it I end up on a writing marathon for every deadline?

Because like dieting and exercising, I tend to sabotage myself. Each time, I keep saying, "Oh I have plenty of time," and then I put off completing my pages for the day for whatever reason. I always have an excuse. But in reality, pages should come first, then promotion or whatever else I'm doing.

I need to make a lifestyle change. Set a goal and stick to it, period. I know what I am capable of when I push myself. Basically twenty to twenty-five pages a day, which is pretty much what I've been doing for the past few days. Four to five hours straight with no promotion or distractions, just me and my laptop and my notes as I type away. Being that "in the zone" can lead to some amazing writing, it always does for me, but it's not healthy. A person's body can only take so much repetition like typing and sitting for such long periods.

So when this book is done, I am determined to stay on track from now on. Write at a nice healthy pace, stay fit as well as "sane," and possibly finish a book early. Wouldn't that be nice for a change.

So tell me, do you all sabotage your writing like you do your diets and exercise? Or are you one of those "good" people who actually stick to your goals? What are your tips for staying on track? Inquiring minds are desperate to know :-)

16 comments:

Kari Lee Townsend said...

So tell me, are you a sabotaur, or are you a good little writer...and if so, smack some sense into me so I will stay on track next time!

What are your tips?

Kari Lee Townsend said...

So tell me, are you a sabotaur, or are you a good little writer...and if so, smack some sense into me so I will stay on track next time!

What are your tips?

Liz Lipperman said...

You are so asking the wrong girl, Kari. Like you, I flitter away the time until I am lost in deadline hell. See earlier post on February 21 titled "A Twelve Step Program For Writers."

But like you, I can honestly say that some of my best writing emerges when I am in panic mode. I just wish I could pretend to be there without actually having to endure all the anxiety.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

LOL man I hear that, Liz! My fingers are ready to fall off. I wrote 23 pages on Monday, and 21 pages on Tuesday. I'm shooting for 20 pages a day so I will be done by Tuesday of next week and can just polish away.

I'm loving what I'm writing...I always do when I'm in writing marathon mode...but man I'm getting old. Can't keep up at this pace much longer!

Lindsay said...

I strive for 800-1000 words a day. I lnow it may not seem all that much but since I do most of my writing at work, interruption you know, I have found that to be a more realistic goal for me.
As for the 'sane' part I gave that up long ago along with the exercise and diet stuff.

Anita Clenney said...

I am the queen sabatour. I'm usually in deadline hell with Liz. I'm astonished that you can write 25 pages per day. I guess I've done that on occasion, but I tend to get stuck. Like with this third book. I've struggled with the same four pages for three days. I finally hit a breakthrough. I started the scene in a different place, visualized it, and it just popped, but still I struggle getting it down right. I think it's because I'm trying to include parts from an older version. It's probably easier to just write the entire scene fresh than try to work in older pieces.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

That's the key, Lindsay. You have to figure out what works for you and stick to it. You'd be amazed at what 1 page a day accumulates to. I just get so mad at myself because I don't stick to it, and then I end up writing these insane marathons!

I need to change my ways asap.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

When I get stuck, Anita, like I did today. I sit down and look at my running outline. I have an overall plot I work from that is more complete for the beginning and end than the middle. Then as I go along I have a working outline where I write down what I actually did as I do it. Every time I finish a chapter, I write down the setting, the characters, and what I did for each scene. Then when I get stuck, I look at that, then look at my overall outline, and see how much "room" I have to play with. Then I try to come up with scenes and places and people I haven't used in a while, and usually I plot another 2 chapters or so. Then it's back to writing like a maniac and filling it all in. Usually I try to do the plotting part at night when kids are home and hubby and distractions are going on, etc. So then I can focus on writing new stuff when I have peace and quiet during the day.

Cassy Pickard said...

The part for me is always others. I am a sucker for letting everyone's issues become mine. The list is long of those that somehow I seem to need to worry about.

But I have started a new book and I'm truly excited. The feel of something on the edge is a whole motivation unto itself.

Lindsay said...

With so many of us either with a family to look after, dogs and cats included, or a full time job, of course being a mother is a full time job, realistic goals are the only way to accomplish what we want with our writing.
I use to think that 1500-2000 words was good, until I looked at the rough draft.
That's why I lowered my daily goal and still have a lot of rewrite to do but not as bad as before.
Pick a number, pages or words, that you feel comfortable with and try to stick to it.
Like you said Kari, one page at a time

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Oh, believe me Cassy, I am the queen of letting life interfere. But then everyone expects that and they stop taking your writing seriously. That is just as important as their needs. It's hard, but you have to tell them that you will get to that at such and such a time, because this particular time is set aside for your writing. That's been the hardest lesson for me. Getting my family to realize that unless it's a life or death emergency, it will have to wait!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

You're right, Lindsay, it's all about a page at a time!

Donna Cummings said...

I do things at the last minute, and partly it's because I don't want to get started on something, because I think it will be harder than it ends up being.

I also think we do it because then it really narrows down the available options, so we're more focused, and can't let all the possibilities distract us. And since we've had success doing things this way, even if it's exhausting, we do it again the next time. . .because we know it'll work. LOL

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I've just officially decided we are insane!

Lindsay said...

Kari Lee, I've known you're all insane a long time ago. Unlike me, who's totally sane

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Ha ha now that's funny right there, Lindsay :-)