Impatience and Run-away Days

Do you ever have one of those days when all you want to do is run away?

Flowers in my garden – a good place to run away to.

For my birthday a few weeks back, my husband bought me a brand new laptop. It was unexpected, sweet, and quite lovely – it’s so much faster than the old one. It also came with sample games pre-installed, which were surprisingly addictive. I don’t like computer games. I am generally quite disciplined … except for, it would seem, last week.

Or today. When I’d actually reduced my word count with some light editing as I re-read what I’d written, but then stubbornly continued to bounce up from the seat to do everything BUT just write, like I was supposed to be doing, like I’ve actually reserved time to do since my parents take the kidlet to give me some peace and quiet.

Eventually, I did get some writing done (some 4151 words, though I think it would have been more if I hadn’t deleted so many before I actually started the count).

So, back to you: do you ever have one of those days where you just want to run away from work, responsibility, everything? Disappear into meaninglessness?

Today was one of those days, so I thought I’d give you five tips on how to defeat them – and actually still get work done – without making yourself crazy. It worked for me today, so maybe it will work for you too.

1. Offer yourself a future award that is only to be enjoyed after the work is done. (Yes, it’s childish, but it still works.)

2. Place said-reward where you can see it when you’re working. I put my tiny chocolate bar on the corner of my desk – beware not to put chocolate too close to the computer as they have sometimes been known to melt when the laptop exhausts it’s fan.

3. Take note of the time you have begun. Promise yourself you will remain in the chair for at least an hour. It can be exactly an hour to the second – but an hour (or whatever length of time works best for you.)

4. Open your work, and force yourself to start typing. Especially on a day like this, no deleting – this will simply become a new excuse not to create new work. JUST KEEP TYPING (or whatever else it is you’re working at).

5. Follow the path of the story and your inclination today. Remind yourself that editing, rewrites, additions and deletions are for another day; today you are just getting new words written without judgment. Continue in this process until either your allotted time runs out (if you still want to run away, allow yourself to do so after this time, and reward yourself for actually working – yes, it’s just one of those days.)

What I discovered was that although a part of me certainly still wanted to run away, another part of me hadn’t noticed that my allotted hour had run out about an hour before, and I was still working – and things were going well. Was the writing as great as some days? As easy? No. But that’s okay, because at least I did my writing.

So, try out my five steps, see if they work for you. Any others work for you? How do you get yourself working and keep yourself motivated on the run-away  kind of days?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

Acceptance and Publication: A War of Attrition?

I’ve been out querying and feeling a bit down about my writing lately – one of the low points in the ride, perhaps – and my husband suggested that I had to consider the process towards publication like a war of attrition.

I got the feeling he meant I couldn’t simply give up, but I had to actually look up what he meant for a definition this morning. For those of you as “familiar” with this term as I was, here are some definitions:

war of attrition plural wars of attrition [countable]
a struggle in which you harm your opponent in a lot of small ways, so that they become gradually weaker (source: Longman online dictionary)
In game theory, the war of attrition is a model of aggression in which two contestants compete for a resource of value V by persisting while constantly accumulating costs over the time t that the contest lasts. The model was originally formulated by John Maynard Smith[1], a mixed evolutionary stable strategy (ESS) was determined by Bishop & Cannings[2]. Strategically, the game is an auction, in which the prize goes to the player with the highest bid, and each player pays the loser’s low bid (making it an all-pay sealed-bid second-price auction). (source: Wikipedia, along with a much longer and more detailed definition.)
The way he put it, basically you have to continue to query and submit until eventually, you win because the other “player” (in this case the agents and publishers) simply give in.
I’m not sure I agree – in fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t.
While I do believe it’s important that we continue to get our work out there, to never give up (especially on the days you really want to), I think instead of a war of any kind, it’s more like you’re continuing on a hunt for the right “match.” Hmm, instead of a war of attrition, maybe it’s a bit more like the children’s game, Snap – you know, the one where you have a whole bunch of cards facedown, and you turn up one and then go hunting for the matching card. You win the pair if you find the match. If you don’t, you turn them both back over and start again on your next turn.
I suppose my opposition to the progress towards publication being like a war of attrition, is that it assumes a winner and loser, one side eventually admitting defeat; a rejection isn’t a loss, but simply a lack of match.
So, what do you think?
Thanks for reading, and have a great day.