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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Motivation!

   
Author Topic: Motivation!
mayflower988
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www.writeordie.com is terrific! An author friend introduced me to it. Basically, you tell it what your goals are and start writing. If you get distracted and stop typing, it'll either make a window pop up or a really annoying sound play to remind you to write. The purpose of Write or Die is to encourage you to write without self-editing. I think James Scott Bell said, "First get it written, then get it right!" I liked it because that's a big struggle for me. I always worry about things sounding perfect. And I promise, I'm a real person, this is not a commercial, it's a testimonial. My name is Tiffany, I'm a first time writer, and I just wanted to let everyone know about Write or Die.
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babooher
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I've said this before on this site, I too like Write or Die. If you go back a page or so, there is a post from KDW about advice from a knitter. That's where I first saw Write or Die.
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rcmann
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This is something that I don't understand, and I want to understand it very much. Please believe me when I say that I am not trying to criticize the approach in any way. I am simply puzzled, since this is totally alien to the way I think. when I write, it's because the story is in there and wants to get out.

If I don't write, it's because the story is either hiding itself, or is log jammed somehow and I need to go distract myself long enough for it to work its way loose.

The only thing similar to this that I ever do is sit down sometimes and just scratch off random sentences and/or random story hooks, merely to kick my subconscious in the pants. But the idea of forcing myself to keep writing just to pile up quantity is something that I do not understand.

I am totally sincere in asking this. How does this help? Maybe I am missing something.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by mayflower988:
The purpose of Write or Die is to encourage you to write without self-editing.

But I wear all my writing hats when I write raw drafts. I just put the editor hat on last where it's not as insistent. I put brackets around weakly developed scenes wanting more mimesis development and move on until I come back and rework those scenes.

Character and place names that aren't fully developed, brackets. Dialogue that's just the bare spoken words, without context, thoughts, actions, emotions, or sensations, brackets. Context I know should be included but is not yet fully imagined, brackets. Causality that's off pace, off tension, underdeveloped antagonism, or out of logical sequence, another nonce character: <>.

Scenes that I draft write in summary recital, diegesis, or explanation, exigesis, just to get the scenes onto the page, bracketing asterisks.

I write inline notes of a scene's import in the moment and relative to other scenes and the central dramatic complication, the problem wanting satisfaction, braces. Context that is heavy handed, elaborations, or I'm not yet married to, bracketing braces.

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rcmann
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I do something similar. I write in fit and spits. A scene here, [an insert to remind myself to include a description later], another scene up next to the end, jump back and put in an extra scene at the beginning, then cut out half of the original first scene, jump back to the middle and flesh out a character who I decided to make a serious secondary player, etc. The only editing I ever do is grammar and spelling, and sometimes not even then.

Of course, I don't really have a first draft as such. It's all a first draft until it's done.

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extrinsic
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quote:
Originally posted by rcmann:
The only editing I ever do is grammar and spelling, and sometimes not even then.

Winning writer strategies leave mechanical style editing until last. After all, a misspelled word here and there might not even be in a final cut. Grammar though, sometimes noticing a dangling participle might unlock a hunch a sentence is not quite as strong as it could be. And passive voice and illogical causality and awkward diction and syntax and etc.
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rcmann
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Anyway. I am still trying to get a grip on the advantages of the write or die program. I wonder if I am missing something useful.
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extrinsic
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The main philosophy of Write or Die and similar apps or techniques is to enhance brain delateralization. The left brain hemisphere is traditionally associated with logical thinking; the right brain with creative thinking. Because of the way writing is taught and learned, the creative function is often supressed in favor of the logical function. Write or Die favors emphasizing creative function.

The program is a whip cracking anytime typing rate falls below a preselected rate. Say one hundred fifty key strokes per minute, roughly twenty-five words per minute. The idea of quantity over quality may, with time and dedication, lead to improved creative function and quantity and quality strengthening simultaneously.

Sometimes a story just leaps onto the page. The peculiar principle in play is connecting, actually, brain functions that without practice remain lateralized, stratified, so to speak.

One more peculiarity that might be happening is an association between conscious and subconsious minds develops. What's really on the mind leaps onto the page from the subconscious cranking away, trying to decipher meaning when meaning isn't logically clear, but by making cognitive leaps through creative channels.

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babooher
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Lots of people, myself included, have found that having deadlines increases output. Now, I can make up a deadline but not much happens if I don't make it. With Write or Die, there is something, albeit only minor unless you go hardcore, that happens if you don't write.

And it's free online.

I really enjoy the 15 minute timer (you can alter this but 15 minutes is the default). Who can't squeeze 15 minutes in right before bed or at some point in the day? Also, it gives me an easy amount of time that I can tell my brood not to bother me unless there's blood. I don't feel bad about asking for 15 minutes for Daddy.

I like to use Write or Die, barf it all onto the screen, revise, and then add it to the main draft. The revision time is often when I think about what comes next so that I can repeat the process.

And if you have a system that works for you, you don't need this. I'm not getting paid to hawk a free system, and I don't need to sell ice to the Eskimos. But for people who have a hard time finding the time to write or making it necessary, than Write or Die might just help.

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Robert Nowall
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I don't have an iPad...I generally write on this here computer, or sometimes I go back to a typewriter (like when I have writer's block), or sometimes I write something out in longhand (like my diary).
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Rhaythe
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Kamikaze mode. Ha!
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NoTimeToThink
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It depends on how much motivation a person needs. The Sicilian in me thinks it would be more effective to make an agreement for a true deadline. On the due date, Cousin Vito shows up to collect the story or, well, ...
Ya know, maybe I could set up such a service...

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MartinV
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Deadline can be a most stimulating thing. But I highly doubt a threat of electroshocking the seat if the keys are not pressed causes formation of sane sentences.

I would still be interested to hear the results of some self-experimentation...

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rcmann
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OK, I see the advantages for some people. For me, it wouldn't help. I spent my career doing high intensity tech writing under get-this-done-or-you're-fired-and-there-better-not-be-any-technical-errors-in-it deadlines. It's a blissful thing for me to be able to turn my mind loose to play and create. But I can certainly see how it would assist some people to focus and concentrate. Best of luck to you. To each their own.
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babooher
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Robert, you know you don't need an iPad, right? I use my PC with the program all the time.
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Robert Nowall
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What I don't know about these things could fill a manual.
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Tiergan
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quote:
What I don't know about these things could fill a manual.
I am still laughing. Robert you have truly made my day. Thank you.
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babooher
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Well played, Mr. Nowall, well played.
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Robert Nowall
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Gee...I don't even think it's the first time I said it 'round here...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
Originally posted by babooher:
Robert, you know you don't need an iPad, right? I use my PC with the program all the time.

I have an ipad (and no external keyboard). No way would I try typing very much at all on the screen "keyboard" -- it's uncomfortably small in my opinion (besides, I use a stylus with my ipad because I hate fingerprints--so typing is more like "hunt and peck").
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babooher
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KDW, how do you feel about that absent Tab key?
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Hadn't noticed that it was absent, bahooher. So I guess it's not a problem for me. I just move the cursor where I want it.

By the way, in my mind, KDW has always been K D Wentworth, and I have always been kdw. I'd like to keep it that way, to honor her, if that's okay.

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MattLeo
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Let me suggest a more low-tech approach to the same problem of staying on track as you write.

(1) Decide how much time you want to spend writing today -- let's say two hours.

(2) Divide that time up into half hour periods.

(3) Sit down at your writing station, dial-up half an hour on a kitchen timer, and write until the bell rings. If you get distracted, reset the timer to half an hour. You're going for an uninterrupted half hour writing sprint.

(4)When you've completed a period of solid writing, take a five minute break, even if you're going at it hammer-and-tongs.

Why does this work? The biggest problem is getting distracted and letting the time you've set aside to write slip through your fingers as you check email, reorganize your files, and figure out how to use some whiz-bang feature of your word processor. You want to become *conscious* of that time slipping through your fingers; that will motivate you to focus.

But why stop at half an hour? If the writing is going well, why not write on until the time is up? Because you want to get in the habit of noting the time passing. The muse won't desert you if you take a five minute break, but if you start ignoring your timer you won't have any safety net to catch you when you get distracted.

Important tips for making this work: First, use an actual wind-up kitchen timer. Yes, your computer can do this for you, but your computer is not only your best writing tool friend, it's your worst distraction enemy. Elaborate time management applications are time wasters in themselves, temping you to fiddle with your to-do lists to reshuffle your priorities endlessly in a vain attempt to squeeze five quarts of priorities into a gallon of available time. Second, stick to a consistent sprint period so you can develop that sense of time going by. Don't do ten minutes one day, and one hour another. Twenty-five minutes with a five minute break is a good choice for many people because it works out to round hours. Finally, be strict about only counting writing time toward your goal. If you find yourself doing something else for more than a minute, consider your sprint spoiled and start it over again. If you start accepting sprints that *mostly* writing, pretty soon those will degrade into sprints that are mostly goofing off.

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mayflower988
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Good tip, MattLeo. I'll have to try that.
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