View Full Version : Pay for Play

03-21-2011, 03:00 AM
I've been spending far too much time procrastinating and doing things not related to writing. This is a killer for me, especially since I have so little free time in the first place. So I made a spreadsheet to track my time and "credit" myself points which I could spend on surfing, gaming, etc. And then I thought, why not tell people what I'm doing and add another layer of accountability?

Who knows, maybe if enough people find what I'm doing useful, they can make and share their own spreadsheets (man, that sounds really nerdy).

So first off, some ground rules:

1) You get one point every 1000 words, and .5 points every 500. 1 point = 1 hour, so 2.5 points equals two and a half hours of guilt-free time. Word count towards earning points is rounded down, so 998 words still counts as a half-point.

2) In spending points, minutes are rounded up. Watching a 45 min TV show counts as one full point. So maximize your guilt-free time.

3) Certain critical things are exempt from the point system. Work, family time, meals, exercise, bathroom breaks... (you get the idea). Reading and critiquing works from your writing group are exempt also, since those actually help your development as a writer. If you get too caught up in a good book to write, then /shrug.

4) Points do not expire. You could build up 10 points and have a totally guilt-free day catching up on BS:G or playing WoW.

Here's mine: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?pli=1&hl=en_GB&key=tMvdAtk5Vu5rplef7X0jYAQ&hl=en_GB#gid=0

03-21-2011, 03:17 AM
In the time spent setting this up and keeping track, it still sounds like procrastination and avoidance, to me. Why not just write?

03-21-2011, 03:23 AM
I hope this works out for you, jenga. Keep us posted on how it goes (i may consider doing something like this in the future).

Spreadsheets rawk, don't they? :)

03-21-2011, 05:10 AM
Just sit down and write. Then you won't have to waste time on spreadsheets , games, points, or anything else.

And you can't exempt anything. Writing time is either time spent actually writing, or it's just one more way of avoiding writing. Writing groups, reading books, researching, etc., are NOT writing, and cannot be used as an exemption. Meals, family, etc., have to have their own time, and cannot take away from writing time.

When it's time to write, you either sit down and write, or you forget all about being a writer.

Though I am of the opinion that we do not procrastinate when it's something we really want to be doing. Procrastination is a sign you don't really want to be doing whatever it is you're procrastinating about. Better to forget it and find something you love doing so much that you never procrastinate because you'd rather be doing it than anything else there is to do with your time.

03-21-2011, 05:35 AM
If it works for you, sweet. Best of luck with it. :)

Also, Minecraft rawks. :D

03-21-2011, 05:57 AM
Or, you could download something like Focus Booster which gives you a countdown clock so you can use the "I only have to do this for XXX minutes" approach.

Or, you could use Liquid Story Binder's motivation mode, which will start untyping your words if you stop for too long.

There are plenty of motivation tools out there that don't require you to spend so much time setting things up before hand.

03-21-2011, 03:38 PM
I love to write, and am planning (financial planning, release planning, all of it) to make it my full time job as soon as possible.

I still procrastinate when something about the story is bothering me, so I'm not going to suggest or even think that procrastination is a sign that you're not meant to be a writer.

I will agree with those who think your technique to stop procrastination was one of the most glaring examples of stalling ever, and you're talking to someone who once spent three hours reading the remains of a long forgotten AW flame war.

My suggestion - consider game systems design for a day job ;) Okay, okay, seriously - take a long walk when you're tempted to do this stuff. Poke at your story like it's a slightly loose tooth and you reeeeeally need the quarter from the tooth fairy tonight. You might be blocked by something and need to shake it free.

03-21-2011, 06:31 PM
Whatever works for you. My own carrot isn't play time but finished and marketable product, so I just set up daily minimums of 1000 words or 2 hours (when editing.)

I do have a nice obsessive spreadsheet to track my progress in reducing 170,000 word first draft monster to 120,000-130,000 word second draft semi-sleek fighting machine. 18,373 words to go!