I think we should see other people. I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me, and I think we’ve both grown and learned a lot over the years, but it’s just not working out the way it used to. I’m sure you can see my enthusiasm flagging. The excitement just isn’t there for me anymore; I keep feeling like a failure. I think it’s best to just stop now, while we can still be friends. I hope you understand.
There are things I do still like about NaNo, but the more I struggle with it the more I feel like my peg just isn’t cut out for this hole ifyouknowwhatimean. The discipline of “write every day” is useful and important; the idea that the only way out of a block is through, also important. But too much else about it is arbitrary in a way that does me more harm than good. It’s an imaginary deadline for a form that doesn’t come easily to me at a pace that I can’t sustain consistently. The timing during the year is terrible (and no, I don’t subscribe to the party line that making it more inconvenient adds to the excitement). The tracking tools on the website wind up demoralizing me further — “I wrote 1200 words today! Now I’m… further behind than I was yesterday, shit.”
So. Thanks for all the fish, NaNo, but I really think I need a process that fits my life and patterns better.
Right now I’m poking at HabitRPG again, which I wandered away from a few months ago while they worked out some crippling bugs, but is now functional and comes with a mobile app. I’ve been a gamer for the last decade or so (yes, I got started late) and the idea of getting POINTS for doing stuff has gotten wired into my brain pretty well. So now I have Dailies to do on Habit: take my meds, go to my job, go to the gym on certain days, and write 500 words. I have to do those things or imaginary pixel me will lose hit points, oh no! 500 is much lower than the NaNo pace. MUCH lower. But that’s the point where I’m setting the stick for my carrot/stick routine. Because in the Habit column (along with things like “cook real dinner” and “take out trash” and “write blog entry”) there is another “write 500 words.” The first 500 words of any given day go in the Daily requirement, just keeping writer-me healthy. But if I do 1000 words I get to click the one in the other column and earn bonus points. If I do 1500 words in one day I can get a second helping of bonus points. One stick, potentially endless carrots.
Whoops, just summed up the blog post in five words there. I’m a perfectionist with depression; too many sticks just leave me curled up under my desk feeling beaten (the morale does not improve). Just enough of a stick to get me out of inertia, though, and then the potential for rewards as long as I continue the good behavior? Oh. Yes, there we go.
How about you? What motivates you when you’re dragging your feet on a creative endeavor? Any tricks or brain-hacks or tools that work especially well?