Banana Cake Bribery

As I write this post, I am in the last quarter of my current novel. In most areas of my life I am reasonably well-organised, prone to lists and spreadsheets and the like. This novel, however, was started during a time of turmoil which coincided with last year’s NANOWRIMO. I decided about a week before the start date that I’d give it a crack. I have done NANOWRIMO once before, and having even a rough outline was beneficial, particularly when the daily word count is quite high (1666.66 words) but with one thing and another, it was 1 November and off I went without a roadmap.

Somehow I made it to the word count goal of 50,000 with a couple of days to spare. It was challenging but rewarding to find the time to write in amongst everything else. I have continued on with the novel since then, but I tend to pick it up, do a bit then move on to something else, which is not ideal. I have also created character summaries, location details and plot points. These have been scanned into Evernote so I can pick them up wherever I am, and the hard copies are dotted around my study.

One of the reasons I like NANOWRIMO is the word count goal. Some writers estimate their progress using pages completed, or plot advancement. There is a part of me that is itching to re-read the first draft, tidy up the inconsistencies and generally see how it hangs together. But the persistent part of my personality is winning at present, and it wants the damn novel finished. Tinker all you like when you finish it, just get the words down.

This is where the banana cake comes in. My goal today was to hit the 85,000 word mark. Which required about 3,200 words. I rather reluctantly started, then my fingers were dancing and the pages were flying by (I am getting the first draft down using Pages, and will do the editing and rework via Scrivener). I keep an eye on the page numbers as I go, not the word count in case my short-attention span kicks in and I start to think of other things I can, should or could do other than come up with another batch of words. I worked out that if I could get to page 215, there would be enough words on the page and I could have cake.

I made it. The cake was moist with lemon icing. It was worth it.

How do you bribe yourself to write when required?

[Photo: part of the Waste2Art 2016 Exhibition showing at Eskbank House, Lithgow]

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