Monday, January 5, 2009

Honesty Calendar

I am really six-years-old. I will do anything for a gold star. The more stars, the better.

I'm not motivated by public humiliation, the joy of writing, the excitement of finishing a project or even ice cream (since I was going to have some anyway). But -- a gold star. Now you're talking.

My friend Joan reminded me of Honesty Calendars mentioned in Vanessa Grant's Writing Romance book. These are calendars where you keep track of your real progress. Right there, in front of your eyes. It's either encouraging or guilt-inducing. I set the bar quite low so that it's encouraging unless I do absolutely nothing, and then I should feel guilty.

For 2009, I have two Honesty Calendars. One is on my desk for writing paragraphs or pages in my novel, the other is on my wall next to my treadmill for days I walked. I can't stand to see too many blank squares. Today was going to be a blank square on my writing Honesty Calendar. I couldn't stand it.

So I wrote. Not much. But I wrote. I got a gold sticker.

If I keep it up, maybe I'll get a whole novel.

And the best part is, that little piece of writing seems to have brought my excitement and confidence back. Now I'm all set to earn my gold star for tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I'll even write several chapters.

But the important thing is that I get my gold star.


Joanie said...

A brighter writing future with every new gold star! Wonderful, wonderful! And the fact that you pushed through today, got your star and have more progress--you're my inspiration!

I've been putting my word count each day on my desk calendar, but it just doesn't give the oomph I feel as I read about you gaining your newest gold star. Accountability, regardless of the manner you use, is a wonderful thing. Congratulations on seeing the joy in small bright shiny pointed things. Ah... it is the little things that matter.

Ceri Hebert said...

I like that idea a lot. Maybe I'll have to find an inspiring calendar and hang it next to me. Right now I keep track of my count on a piece of notebook paper.

And the gold star thing is great!

I have Vanessa Grant's book but never read it. Is it worth it?

Dru said...

I hope you have plenty of gold stars on your writing calendar.

Marianne Arkins said...

That's a great idea... I have a spreadsheet I use, and I HATE putting in a big, fat ZERO. Even if it's only a few hundred words, I manage to write something every day so I don't have to put in that goose egg.

And, am going to check out that book.

Amy said...

Here's to a gold star EVERY DAY this month!

groovyoldlady said...

That's it...God stars for everyone!!!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This really cracked me up, but I'm so glad it's giving you great motivation! For me, the stupid little word count widget is the cool motivator. I get to go on my own blog each day and upload my new word count and watch that PERCENTAGE amount leap forward. That's what gets me going, I guess.

smellshorsey said...

Thanks, everybody.

Probably the little word count widget would inspire me (it did for NaNo) but I haven't figured out how to use it.

The good thing about the gold star is that I get an "A" for effort every time. As my friend Joan said, a star is better than a scar.

edeevee said...

Love the gold star reward. Hope the next few weeks are filled with them for you.