Tag Archives: Nostalgia Critic

Repetitiously Repeated Repetition or: the Perpetual Drill Sergeant

Ugh. I’m just gonna level with ya’ll. I don’t feel like writing today. I’m not sure what is is. I got plenty of sleep, I’m not feeling down or anything like that, I just feel…lazy. All I want to do is sit in my big red chair and watch old Nostalgia Critic videos all day.

I don’t think I’m the only one feeling like that either. Because I see these, “Get your butt in gear and get writing you worthless slimebag!” posts all the time on various blogs. I mean how many times can you post the same, “I don’t care what you’re feeling like, screw the muse and get writing anyway,” stuff?

Apparently the answer is, a lot. Because we need to be motivated. Like all the time. Left to ourselves I wonder if any of us would get much of anything done. I mean sure you read some great motivational book or blog post or maybe you have am uplifting conversation with a fellow writer and you think, “Yup, I’m good to go. All those I-don’t-feel-like-writing blues have done flown away.”

And then tomorrow happens. And all that positivity is gone again.

Maybe someone should start a blog which consists of nothing but drill-sergeant, in-your-face, don’t-you-dare-tell-me-you-don’t-feel-like-writing-today-soldier rants. There’s got to be  market for that.

 

“But Albert,” you say, “Wouldn’t that get repetitive?”

Well, yeah. That’s kind of the point. I know I’ve said this on this blog before, but screw originality. There’s only about six different things we writers need to hear so if the cheerleaders among us end up repeating themselves or sounding eerily similar it’s because we really need to hear this stuff over and over and over again.

Because that, “I can take on the world and kick this wordcount’s butt” feeling is just that…a feeling. It’s  series of chemical interactions in your brain and it ain’t gonna last any more than that, “I’m on top of the world and delirious with happiness” feeling you had last week lasted.

But that’s okay. Because feelings don’t make you a writer. Yes, you’ve heard it before, and you’re going to hear it again. Sit down. Shut everything else on your computer off. Now write.

That’s what makes you a writer. Habit. Repetition.

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Does it work? It does for me. At the beginning of this post I truly didn’t want to write this morning. But at the beginning of the year I made a commitment to myself to blog every day (barring Sundays), and believe it or not that commitment has taught me something important about writing which is this: if you treat writing as something you have to do, rather than something you something want to do you’ll accomplish more than you could dream.

Take it from me. I know it works. Ignore your doubts and your fears and tell your laziness to take a hike. I think you’ll find the old joy of writing is there waiting for you just like it always was.

Scheduling for Success

At the beginning of the year I made this big resolution about writing an average of a thousand words per day. At first things went well. Throughout the month of January I met and exceeded my goal on a daily basis.

But then February got here and something changed. I started writing fewer words in the day. On most days I barely limped past the five hundred mark.

I started to get worried. Was my initial success simply the result of beginners fever? Was I starting to burn out after only half the year was up?

I kept trying to make appointments for myself to write each day, but in spite of having ample time to complete my goals, my wordcount consisted mainly of blog posts and little else. I didn’t know what was wrong. I was starting to doubt my resolve as a writer.

But something more specific had changed between the months of January and February: my wife had moved up to working an earlier shift that required her to get up sometime around five forty-five. Before that change, I had been waking up somewhere around five thirty and writing till she got up somewhere around seven.

After she started working the early shift, I started telling myself that I would write, “sometime this morning.” I set plenty of word goals, and from time to time I met them, but it never felt the same. I found myself frittering away my time with twitter and other online distractions.

And then I read a blog post by Katie Lyn Branson, about the importance of scheduling your writing time, and the light bulb finally came on for me.

It wasn’t that I was lazy, or uninterested in writing. Well, okay, I am a little lazy. But the difference in my output was affected by how I thought about my time. During January my morning writing had a specific starting point and a specific ending point. It wasn’t something I had consciously set up for myself, that was just how it all worked out. February was far less structured.

I realized I needed a schedule. I needed a time limit in which I would say, “Albert, you will write for x amount of time and do nothing else. Then you can quit.”

So yesterday I tried it. It worked beautifully. I wrote to 2,445 words with breaking a sweat and finished off one of the short stories I had started earlier in the month.

If I’d simply set myself a word goal of almost 2,500 words for the day, you can bet I would have poked around on the internet for a while, felt guilty about it, and then tried to come back to my writing, only to crank out a measly thousand words or so. But the schedule worked like magic.

Why? Two words: quitting time. Do not get me wrong, I like writing as much as the next guy, but even so, it can be hard work. It was so good to be able to look back at my writing and say, “Well, that was a good output for today,” and go and watch the Nostalgia Critic without guilt.

In other words, I was able to use the internet as a reward, instead of using it as a reason not to write.

Maybe you’re in the same boat I am. Maybe you’re not writing nearly as much as you’d like to be. Instead of making more and more wordcount goals for yourself, try scheduling instead. Tell yourself, “I will do nothing but write for a whole hour.” You may surprise yourself with what is possible.