Thursday, September 16, 2010

Creating Motivation

As a new writer, I find it hard to find to write. I got to school full time and I also work part time, plus I'm involved in a fraternity. This makes things complicated. When I write, it seems to happen during a boring class or sporadically at work. I know at this rate, I'll never finish my book, SOOOO I've brainstormed some ideas for creating motivation.

1. Have a special notebook that's just for writing.

One thing I'm going to try is to set aside a lovely notebook that I'm going to use solely for my writing endeavors. This should be a pretty notebook (or handsome, if you prefer). It should be something you want to look at, and therefore different from your school/work notebooks. I chose a pretty one from Staples. (It was on sale, too!)

It has a pretty design on the front that I'm going to color in.

2. Make a schedule.

My next tip is to make a schedule. I'm a schedule freak, so before the school year begins, I've got Excel spreadsheets everywhere. They have my school, work, and fraternity schedules on them, and I post them in important places. By my desk, by the door, on the fridge. Wherever. So if I've scheduled all the other important stuff in my life, why not writing? Set aside a special time of day, however much time you have (anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more), to do your writing. Treat it like it HAS to be done, like homework or laundry. (Not that I'm very dilligent about either of those things...) You get the picture.

And in case you DON'T get the picture, I've provided one.

3. Have goals.

Goals are extremely important for every big project you undertake. Set goals for yourself. They can be small, daily goals. "I will write 500 words today." Or they can be long term goals. "I will finish my book by June." Whatever works for you. Set your goals, and stick to them. Which brings me to my next strategy...

Not these kinds of goals.

4. Rewards!

When you meet a goal or an important milestone in your story, reward yourself! You deserve it. You could buy some frozen yogurt, (I'm on a serious froyo kick right now.) get yourself a new outfit, or buy that videogame you've been eyeing. The thing about rewards, though, is that you can't reward yourself if you don't meet the goals. It's tempting, I know. Sometimes I'm like, "Well, I didn't get this done, but darn it, I'm an adult. I can buy froyo if I want to." (Sometimes I forget I'm an adult. :/ ) But behavior like this does NOT help me get things accomplished. You need willpower. Lots of it. If you're like me, and finding willpower is like trying to find your mother in an antique store*, you need someone to hold you accountable. Friend, spouse, mother. These people are all good at nagging, which is needed.

Froyo! It's amazing. Try it. :D

*She just wanders off. I can't help it.

5. Write it down.

My most important tip to help you create motivation and stick to it is to write it alllll down. Write it on a post-it. Write it on your fridge. On your roommate's face. Whatever you need to do. Writing down your goals, schedules, and rewards gives them a sense of permanancy. Somehow, it makes them seem more binding than if they're just in your head. Like how, in my head, I'm married to Alexander Skarsgard, but the state doesn't recognize it as legal and binding because 1) I'm kind of crazy and 2) it's not written down.

He's saying, "We don't need a marriage license, baby."

Anyway, I hope you found some usefullness in all that blabbering. I'm going to return to the real world and try to do my job because there's a patron staring at me like I'm supposed to help him or something. People are so needy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review: CINDERS by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Title: Cinders
Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pub. Date: June 23, 2010
Format: Paperback, 182 pages
Rating: 4/5

Back Cover:
Cinderella's happily-ever-after isn't turning out the way she expected.

With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic.

What I Thought:
In a world where Disney has turned princesses into beautiful young women, striving to find their prince while singing to animals, Michelle Davidson Argyle's novella is refreshing. Argyle's protagonist is Cinderella, but not Disney's version.

Last semester I took a class on folklore, and we spent half the semester covering the Cinderella fairy tale (which is 510A in the Aarne-Thompson fairy tale index, in case you were wondering. I know you were.), so I thought I was burnt out on all things Cinderella. Until I saw this book. A friend read it and let me borrow it (That would be Amanda. You can find her review here.), and I LOVED the idea.

Cinders is all about how Cinderella's dream-come-true has gone all kinds of wrong. Argyle takes the tale and turns it on its head. She gives you more Cinderella. You see her thoughts, dreams, and worries as she confronts the idea that what she wished for may not be what she wants. She expands the fairy tale and gives you characters with names and personalities, instead of epithets and stereotypes. One of my favorite things about the book is that Cinderella is not her real name. It's a nickname that she prefers because she loves the way it makes her feel.

Another great thing about Cinders is all the elements from the fairy tale that come up in the story. For example, Cinderella's shoes are FUR, not glass. (If you're confused by this, go here and read footnote 40.) Another element that worked wonderfully: MAGIC. Argyle's take on magic is not that it's a cure-all for every little problem. It's a powerful element that has consequences. Magic serves as a way for Cinderella to make choices and live life.

Cinders, at 182 pages, is a novella. Not many novellas get published these days because most of them just don't work. Cinders works as a novella. I didn't find it to be too short or too vague. Argyle has all the details and plot necessary to make a wonderful story.

The only thing I didn't care too much for was the ending, but that was just a personal preference. I get disappointed every time endings don't go the way I wanted them to. HOWEVER, I understand why the ending is the way it is. It's necessary, and it's true to the way fairy tales used to be written.

All in all, I loved Cinders. It broke my heart, but in a good way.

You can visit Michelle Davidson Arygle's website here, and you can purchase Cinders from Amazon (in paperback and Kindle edition) and from Barnes and Noble.