Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Stay Motivated" Guest Post - Angela Ackerman



Today I am THRILLED to welcome one of my favorite bloggers, Angela Ackerman of The Bookshelf Muse. She is here to share her tips for combating writer's block and procrastination. And for the record, I take whatever Angela says as gospel! Enjoy.
















Stay Motivated: 7 Fun Ways To Keep Words Flowing

Butt-In-Chair. It’s the struggle of all writers. We know it’s smart, the right thing to do, yet it can be so darn difficult! Sometimes, we’re not in the mood to write. An ouch-a-rific rejection, news of an author snagging a huge deal on her first manuscript which took her three weeks to write and polish...yeah. Totally sucks away the motivation to write. Other times, procrastination creeps in-- the shiny lure of new email messages, the slippery cascade of tweets, the siren song of Scrabble. 

HELP IS HERE, FRIENDS!

I thought it might be fun to scour my @WriterThesaurus feed for some great motivators to keep you in your chair with fingers on the keyboard. (For those of you who don’t know about my @WriterThesaurus account of twitter, check it out sometime. Each tweet is a link to an unusual or unique writing tool or resource for writers. 375 tweets means 375 gold nuggets to help you with your writing!)

Without further ado, here’s some tools to keep the words flowing!


  • Focus Writer For the distracted writer. Do all those shiny desktop buttons beckon? All those internet tabs waiting to be filled with search terms? This program hides all distractions, keeping your eyes locked on the flow of words.
  • Keep Writing For the chronic reviser. This ‘typewriter-esque’ program won’t let you delete words, forcing you to stay focused on the word count, not the revising. (You can do strikethroughs, however!)
  • Penzu  For the Longhand Writer. Love writing longhand but hate how long it takes to turn thoughts to words on paper, to a doc.? Worry no more! This tool supplies the visuals to make you feel like you’re writing longhand on paper as you type.
  • Written? Kitten! For the cat lover. Each time you write a set amount of words (100, 300, you set the number) you are rewarded with a cute kitten picture. AHH! *dies of cuteness*
  • Written? Bacon! For the Bacon Aficionado. Just like the app above, when you hit your word count, a picture of GLORIOUS bacon fills the screen. (HINT: you can change the search term in the browser to anything you desire to keep you motivated. Like pictures of chocolate. Or Firemen. *coughs* 
  • 750 Words: For the determined-yet-busy writer. 750 words is a modest goal--three pages a day. In a year, that adds up to a full novel. Accessed from anywhere, you get points for each 750 words you write, giving you something to challenge yourself with matching month-to-month. Darcy Pattison uses this method.
  •  Write or Die: For the hardcore writer. Time to get down to business. Set a target word count & reach it in the allotted time...or your writing will ‘unwrite itself!’ Be warned...this is a tool for the adrenaline junkie or high stakes writer!


Your Turn! What keeps you motivated? 
Let me know in the comments! 


Angela Ackerman is one half of The Bookshelf Muse blogging duo, and co-author of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression.  Listing the body language, visceral reactions and thoughts associated with seventy-five different emotions, this brainstorming guide is a valuable tool for showing, not telling, emotion.


48 comments:

Charmaine Clancy said...

Great ideas... although I think I'd better stay away from the bacon :)

Becca Puglisi said...

Awesome resources, Angela! If you come across anything to increase the number of hours in my day, would you please add it to you @WriterThesaurus? :)

Thanks so much for hosting her, Shannon!

Old Kitty said...

Written Kitten!! I love that!! thank you so much Angela and Shannon - you've made my day even brighter today! Yay! take care
x

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I want the kitty one! Wonder if that works for editing or just first drafts.

Awesome post, Becca!

Angela Ackerman said...

Charmaine, I look at it as calorie free enjoyment. LOL. And remember, you can change out 'bacon' for any other word and the search term will pop up in pictures, so go for it!

@Becca, man if I knew a link that did that....

@Old Kitty, I was hoping you'd see this! If anyone knows the power of cats as motivators, it's you!

@Stina, you could edit 100 words in your Word doc, and then cut and paste into the window for reward, right?

Shannon, thanks so much for having me! You are so amazingly supportive--I am so lucky to know you!

Happy writing, everyone!

Angela

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips Angela. I've been trying to write or revise for at least 10 minutes a day for about a week. I don't even make that every single day, but most days I do. And once I get going, it's more than 10 minutes. Not much, but with a busy work, family & bloggin schedule it gets me going.

Carolyn V said...

I love those tips! I think I may have to do written- chocolate. lol.

I allow myself to sit and write anything that fills my brain (as long as it deals with my book), no matter how bad it is. It helps a ton. ;)

Great post Angela!

Angela Ackerman said...

Natalie, you have such a busy career, I am always in awe of how you get writing and blogging done! 10 minutes a day can add up to a lot when you are focused and motivated--you are living proof! :)

@Carolyn, I know. I checked out the chocolate one and got lost there for a bit. NOM de Nom NOM. :)

Adventures in YA Publishing said...

OMG, ANOTHER fabulous post by Angela. How do you do this? And your timng is always impeccable. I NEEDED this one today!

Thanks so much for this, Ange. And thank's Shannon for bringing us a great post. Love your blog!

Martina

Laurel Garver said...

So many great tools here! I might have to try the one that keeps you from chronically revising! I probably delete as much as I write any given day. LOL.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Angela. Great post. I tried out Written? Bacon, but changed it to chocolate. it was fun waiting for the picture to appear. : )

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm totally going to the written kitten link!

Jemi Fraser said...

Those are awesome! I love NaNo for those reasons - that external motivation helps!! :) My troubles aren't with first drafts though - I procrastinate worst with revisions :)

The Golden Eagle said...

These sound like great writing motivators. I love the concept behind Write or Die!

Angela Ackerman said...

Martina, Thanks! I am so glad you'll use some of these!

@Laurel, I know quite a few people who chronically revise, so I was thrilled to find this tool :)

@Susanne, I know. CHOCOLATE. It's like feasting without the calories. :)

@Sharon, let me know how it goes!

@Jemi, I find I need motivation during revisions, too. Drafting I'm find with, but revising? Ugh.

@Golden Eagle, I am a bit afraid to try Write Or Die. Although I understand you can tone 'down' the concept and make it so you don't actually lose your WC, so I guess I could try it and 'ease into it'.

Christina Farley said...

I love those ideas! I am the busy writer so I like the 750 words a day idea!

Angela Ackerman said...

I found out about it from Darcy Pattison, Christina. I thought it was a great way to have an attainable goal day to day. Hope you give it a try!

gypsyharper said...

Love these resources! I'm kind of afraid if I used the bacon or chocolate one, I'd end up going to the kitchen to eat instead of writing. But I'm totally excited by the kitten app, and the 750 words one. I think the Keep Writing one might help me also.

Angela Ackerman said...

Ha, I know how you feel, Gypsyharper--I'm just glad the bacon one is sight only. The smell of bacon would KILL me. LOL

Amateur Khoikhoi said...

Thank You Angela! I am definitely going to try FocusWriter as I am one of those people who are compulsively attracted\distracted by too many procrastination options on my desktop, even the Calculator.

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