Follow the Stars

As anyone who’s read…well, pretty much any of my previous blogs on writing…will know, I’ve been struggling a lot lately with focus, motivation, all the things you need in order to get your bum in the seat and your hands on the keyboard. (To write, I mean. I have no problem getting my bum in the seat and my hands on the keyboard in order to blather all over Facebook and Twitter).

I’ve had to resort to drastic measures, and they involve several sticker sheets of gold stars.

100% of the credit for this idea has to go to the fantastic LD Lapinski, who wrote about using a star chart for motivation in this blog. I too have set up a star chart, covering all the things I need extra motivation to do (including getting up on time and eating my vegetables, as well as writing the goddamn novel). I wasn’t going to blog about it, because it felt like copying – but then things developed. Suddenly, I realised that stars were everywhere.

I recently signed up to MyWriteClub to track my progress on Sigyn, because if there’s one thing I love as much as stars, it’s graphs. Here’s my WIP page:

screenshot-2016-11-15-19-10-15

And that’s not all. I started doing writing sprints, and look what happens every time you get to 1000 words?

screenshot-2016-11-15-19-12-09

(And you get green stars for every 100, too. Be still my heart!)

I also signed up to NaNoWriMo, even though it felt like cheating to go in with a novel I was already writing, because I can never have too many of those little hits of dopamine that come with seeing a pictorial representation of your word count increasing.

screenshot-2016-11-15-19-14-12

But what’s that further down the page?

screenshot-2016-11-15-19-14-56

HOLY CRAP, IT’S BADGES.

I love badges even more than I love stars. I’m fairly sure that 50% of my motivation for exercising is to get more FitBit badges (the other 50% is, of course, to become a superhero). I often get quite sad that there’s no grown-up equivalent of Guides where you can work through a book of tasks and earn proper embroidered sew-on badges, because I absolutely adored that.

It all sounds a little bit silly, but I don’t care, because it works. For so long, the story has been difficult and I’ve not been able to get lost in the writing the way I used to – but now, I’ve got something pulling me back. And even if, today, that something is shiny pieces of paper and badges that don’t exist offline, rather than some noble authorly drive, it doesn’t matter – because I’m still writing.

 

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About Alice Nuttall

Alice Nuttall is a caffeine-guzzling knitter who divides her time between Oxford and the various worlds in her head. She is the author of a YA fantasy novel, Spider Circus, and three webcomics, Footloose, Cherry, and Black Market Magic, as well as several short stories.
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