Tonight’s motivational tip for writers

So, tonight, to increase writerly productivity, I enlisted the help of my friends.

I set aside three hours of writing time and sent a message out on Facebook asking people to estimate how many words I’d write in that time. Whoever made the best guess would win a glass of beer / wine / other the next time I see them.

For context, it’s first draft time, which comes out quickly and without any polish. I managed to avoid distractions (apart from changing CD (Mahler and Prokofiev tonight), replenishing my glass of water, and occasionally popping back to Facebook to follow the betting).

Estimates ranged from the pessimistic 9 (from a writer!) to the optimistic 6000 (from an editor!), which probably gives an insight into why the writer / editor relationship can sometimes be a bit fraught…

As I said in my follow-up FB post, it was highly motivating to feel accountable to a group of people and to know that they were watching over me. Writing can be an isolated activity, so to have some people cheering from the stalls gave me a bit of extra oomph in breaking through a bit of deadlock. I’ll definitely be doing it again.

That said, I’ve set a benchmark now, so they might be expecting more next time. My arms are aching after three hours solid typing and my eyes are a bit blurry…. But I managed to pour out precisely 5224 words in that time. And, in the words of someone much wiser than me, that’ll do, pig, that’ll do.


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