About Writing: Incentivise Your Time

At the risk of slipping into management speak with the title of this post, it’s always a good technique to give yourself incentives to finish your daily writing schedule.

You do have one of those don’t you?

Whether it’s giving yourself a thousand words a day, or three scenes a day, or ten pages a day, you should at least set yourself these arbitrary deadlines and markers. If nothing else, they keep your progress bar ticking along. Think of them as mini-deadlines.

Incentivise Your Time
Incentivise Your Time

But you can also break these up into their own mini-mini-deadlines, and use incentives to motivate your progress. How about something like, “I can’t have lunch until I’ve written two pages,” or “I can only sit down and watch Doctor Who when I’ve done my daily count“?

I’m about to start writing a script this week, with the intention of doing ten pages a day, and I won’t let myself stop for the day until I’ve achieved that goal.

It works on a macro scale too. Why not motivate your novel completion with a promise that you can go away for the weekend once the first draft is done? Or reward the second draft of a script with cake?

I’m in two minds about doing more than your daily count though. I think there’s a strong argument for carrying on if you want to once you’ve done your pages. It’s nice to feel you’re ahead of schedule. And you always have those days in the bank when you encounter a slow one.

That said, there’s merit in the idea of stopping when you’ve hit your count. Even if you really want to carry on, you shouldn’t. It means you sit down the next day raring to go, knowing full well what you want to write; assuming you haven’t forgotten, or lost your momentum.

It’s this last thought that usually means I keep going. I’d rather do fifteen pages and run out of steam, and then technically only have five to do the next day.

Having trouble starting each day, try writing just one sentence.

2 thoughts on “About Writing: Incentivise Your Time

  • April 16, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I can’t say I incentivise my writing on a day to day or even goal basis. That’s a great idea.

    I will say this though – even if I hit my target (10 pages a day), I still keep going. There’s an energy built up in my body that I need to dispense. I usually get another 6-9 pages done on that momentum.

    The next day, I still find the same energy thank God.

  • April 16, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Yeah, I’m with you on that one. Definitely keep going.

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