Sunday, 15 February 2009

I have a cunning plan...

OK, as I seem physically unable to bring the writing of the work in progress to an end, I have done something which is going to make me finish it this week. It was supposed to be finished last week – in my mind at least. And we’re talking first draft, here, not the totally finished, hand-it-to-editor item. Sigh…

So, what have I done?

I have agreed to edit a friend’s non-fiction book.

In fact, since he is in a hurry, I have not only agreed to edit it in a kind of 'oh yeah, when I've got a minute' way, I have agreed ona timetable for the week following half term:
Sunday - he will email the final article to me.
By Wednesday evening I will email his 50 000 word typescript back to him, liberally laced with the speech bubbles of MS Word’s ‘track changes’ feature.
He will then pore over my suggestions and all the punctuation I have provided and we will email back and forth (apart from when I’m at work on Thursday) until Friday evening.
He will then come over on Saturday and we will work on the whole thing most of the day.

In other words I WILL HAVE A WEEK WHERE I WILL BE MORALLY UNABLE TO WORK ON THE WIP. I therefore must finish this week.

And, then, following this frenzy of punctuation and suggestion, I will be mentally cleansed and prepared for the hard-core editing of my own work necessary if I'm going to get the book to Will (my editor) before Easter.

So, it’s simple, if you want to force yourself to finish your book, agree to interfere with somebody else’s.


Tim Stretton said...

Motivation is really strange, isn't it? I'm finding exactly the same myself--this is something I enjoy and I'm good at, so why is it so hard to make myself finish it!

Alis said...

Hi Tim
My problem isn't so much motivation as slowness - I'm here at the desk every day but each scene seems to take an age to write before i move on to the next one. Then there's the continual re-thinking which goes on as i fine-tune the climax...
Still, on track at the minute. (So why am I on the blog..?)

David Isaak said...

Robert Benchley's formula was the other way around: "Anyone can do any amount of work, so long as it's not the work he's supposed to be doing."

That describes my brain perfectly. In which case, in your position, I wouldn't finish my own book in the limited time available; I'd work furiously on something else. And then when the time came to edit the friend's work, I'd be sneaking in bits of work on my own book (I hope--it might be something else) and procrastinating about the work I was morally obligated to do.

As you can see, self-mastery is not one of my strong points. But glad your cunning plan is working!

Alis said...

Thanks, David!