Thursday, May 2, 2013


by Alan

Are you a “carrot” or “stick” type of writer, with regard to your own motivation? Do you ever reward yourself for finishing a book/chapter/scene/sentence? How? What other types of motivation do you use?

When I’m in the middle of writing a draft, I’m a very disciplined guy. I’ve found that I don’t need much in the way of reward (or punishment). I set my daily word quota, then I sit down and bang out the words until I’m done. As I tell the students in my writing workshops, BICFOK! (Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard). nike swoosh

Just Do It.

But…when I finish my quota, I get up from my desk—sometimes in the middle of a sentence—free to do something else. Unshackled from the sheer torture that is writing. So, in one sense, freedom is my reward.

[Rumor has it that sometimes I’ll dance around my office, singing “I’m Free” by The Who. Can you tell that I like “having written” much more than I like “writing”?]

When I was growing up, my parents talked a lot about intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards, and I guess I’m motivated on a broad scale by wanting to achieve my long-term goals as a writer.

And, of course, monetary riches beyond my wildest imagination.

I’d better get back to work. BICFOK!


I’ll be at the Malice Domestic convention, tomorrow through Sunday. If you’d like to catch my panel, “If Miss Marple Were A Man: Male Cozy Sleuths,” with Miranda James, Stephen Kaminski, me, and Neil S. Plakcy (moderated by Terry Shames), we’ll be on Saturday, from 2:00 – 2:50. Otherwise, I’ll be buzzing around—if you see me, come up and say hi!

1 comment:

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Me too, Alan. Chasing a deadline doesn't happen unless BICFOK! Have fun at Malice.