This morning, after a seven and a half mile run, I'm sitting on my front porch enjoying a final mocha. My running partner, Najah, and I decided that mochas will be my reward for finishing a certain number of words on my current writing project.
I get no more mochas until I reach that 22,000 -word goal. Then 45,000 words, then 67,000 words, then finished.
It sounds like a lot, but I'm actually just deconstructing and reconstructing a book that I wrote before. I've decided to make some changes so a lot of the work will be cutting and pasting then writing other sections and editing everything together. I'm giving myself a time limit so I can try to solve that other problem I mentioned a few weeks ago -- cutbacks at my job. I've started applying for other, full-time jobs, but if I could bring in a little more income from my writing then I could continue to teach college as an adjunct and have time to write. If I get a full-time job, plus teach college, I'll never have time to write.
It seems silly that I need to motivate myself, but with free time and without set deadlines, I often just fritter it away. That's why Najah and I decided on the joint punishment/reward of mochas or no mochas. And she's going to be my motivator and task master. She'll text me encouragement, like a Nike app: "Way to go!" or "Keep it up!" But she's also willing to push me and scold me if I fall behind.
So wish me luck that I move along quickly and get to my next mocha.
The book I'm rewriting is I See London, I See France. Parts of the book are the same and some have changed: a mother of three young children has a fight with her husband and he walks out. She thinks about when she last felt vibrant and pins it down to a semester abroad in France. She wonders how life might have turned out differently if she'd married the Frenchman she had a crush on. She decides to sell the minivan and travel to Europe with the kids to see if she can rekindle that spark of life within herself, and maybe a romance too.