Working Together While You Write May Boost Odds #IWSG #amwriting


[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are:

Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, Rebecca Douglass

Thank you so much! And thank you founder Alex J. Cavanaugh!


Motivation is an interesting thing. In my direct observation, we tend to have one thing that really matters to us to get us moving and committed to a process. This one thing seems to differ from person to person.

Take for instance potty training.

I have two small children. I started each of them around the same time in their lives, right after they turned two. It started with a goal and a start date. I developed a method which tended to switch rapidly due to an unsuccessful outcome. The routine mattered. But what mattered the most seemed to identify with what each child cared about in order to complete the goal. My son has always been the cautious one. If someone is moving too fast, he’ll tell you to belt up, helmet on and be careful. Rewards work best for him and also knowing he’s helping and not hurting a process.

My daughter on the other hand hears things and understands them. She’s quick to tell you her way and not abide by yours. She has a different set of motivational standards and I had to work a whole new angle, the social group aspect. Everyone in class is already using the potty. Use your buddy and help each other be dry and clean all day long.

In the end the social aspect of working together won, whether it was an independent effort with a group goal or an all out group centered approach, sometimes having the extra accountability might make you set that alarm extra early, roll out of bed, and get what you need to do, even if it’s a small step done.

This month’s IWSG question asks: “Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?”

NaNo is a wonderful thing whether you work best independently with group focused goals, or socially networking the entire deadline committed to a process. I personally, have never taken part in it. I probably never will. But from what I understand it helps support success with the following aspects:

  • Set that Start Date. Turn off the research and write.
  • Define the End Date. When do I need to complete a draft? When do I stop fussing over detail and sentence craft and declare it done?
  • Word Count. How much do I need to write each day? With a hefty start and end date set, word counts seem to be easy to calculate. The next thing to consider is the level of commitment you have to prioritize and get it done.
  • Finally, Group Support. There is a huge network of other writers out there all working to meet the same goals. You’re never alone. And as a writer, I think it’s easy to feel like we are.

So no matter what, if you are or aren’t a participant this year, you’ve probably come up with your own set of motivational tasks to get things done. Mine? Passion, determination and my really great writing partner keeps me focused.

How about you? What gets you up and helps you meet your goals?

Lastly, I leave you with this:

Have a lovely rest of your day 🙂

About Erika Beebe

Author, dreamer, and a momma to a couple of wonderful kids, I try to live life everyday in hope and inspire others along my way.

Posted on November 1, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Everyone is motivated differently and you were wise to use different approaches with your kids.

    I’ve never done NaNo either. November is just too much of a crunch month for me.

  2. You sound like one smart mama, adapting your approach for potty training your kids 🙂 I found NaNo to work well for me last year as it gave me a deadline to work towards. Have a fantastic week, Erika!

  3. I think the NaNoWriMo appeal is the buzz… the thought that a global community consisting of thousands of writers, will be let loose upon all those potential story ideas that are just waiting to unfold. You are not alone in this crazy but exciting venture.
    But NaNo is not for me.

    I always tell myself… one sentence at a time.
    Some days it’s only one or two… other days it’s a few.

    Happy IWSG Day!

  4. I’m with you on your reasons–passion and determination. That works whether you’re potty training kids or writing the next great novel. Good post, Erika.

  5. I like your kid story! I had some similar experiences with my kids. Finding what motivated them really helped – and the “we’re all doing this together” thing helped. I also learned that public spaces (public restrooms or family gatherings) were guaranteed deal-breakers for both of my girls so I didn’t expect them to go there until everyone felt super confident at home. This was years ago, but it was sure memorable. Sometimes, we need to have our own process in order before we go public … and this relates to just about everything. 🙂
    I like NaNo because even if I don’t stop by all of the chat rooms and forums, I find it motivating to work alongside so many other people around the globe, even if I’m writing in my own little space at home.

    • I admire you so much Tyrean! You are so involved, and excellent parent and writer! Yes public facilities was a tough one for sure. Traveling in the car was too for my daughter. I told her a police man would stop and see us and that was enough to help her hold it to the next test stop. I wish you much luck!

  6. I’m a lazy writer, so I need things like NaNo to force me to work. It might take me five hours to hit my daily word count, but darn it, at that point I’m in to win.

  7. You’re spot on about the difference in motivation, and your kids’ example is perfect.

  8. Yes, motivation is important. For me, the best motivation is a deadline. When I write articles for my newspaper, I often procrastinate until the last day, but I never in 10 years I’ve been writing for them missed a deadline.
    Maybe that’s why I keep dithering with my fiction – no deadlines.

  9. And to think all I did with my son was put him in a long t-shirt, took away his pull-up and told him don’t pee on the floor. 48hrs later we were done. It was a hectic weekend through. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  10. This time last year, I had an 18K outline and 1667 words at the end of the first day of nano. This year, I’m still neck deep in research and only have 600 words so far today. I’m working on it, but this won’t be the same nano I did last year. My goal is to write parts of scenes everyday, complete my interviews, and finish an outline. I’m a Nano Rebel!

  11. Rebecca Douglass

    I think you nicely summed up why NaNo works, as well as how a person can create their own version using the key elements.
    P.S. My first-born wasn’t potty trained until he was almost 4. He saw absolutely no reason to change a behavior that had been working well for him since birth.

  12. So true. We need some sort of motivation to achieve our goals, whether it’s a deadline, a commitment to complete a task, or a paycheck! Happy Writing!
    Mary at Play off the Page

  13. When my kids were little, I feared potty training. I think I started studying it as soon as I brought baby #1 home. Then I told myself to relax a little…as long as they weren’t wearing diapers in kindergarten, I wouldn’t fret. I’m beginning to think the same way with the writing…as long as I make it before I die, I’ll be okay.

  14. Different appraoches for different people. I use NaNo for a little shove but never to reach their determined goal, since it never seems to fit mine. Still, it’s fun to peek in and see how the others are doing.

  15. You found what works best to motivate your kids. Good for you. We’re all different in our writing, too. What works for one doesn’t work for someone else. I don’t do NaNo because I can’t write like that–straight through without going back. I can do sprints but not a whole month. That’s just me. Other writers find NaNo very successful. To each his/her own. Best wishes.

  16. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and offering encouragement. I really appreciate it. Sorry for not responding sooner; life got in the way.

    I think it’s cool that you recognized that your kids respond to different things and succeed with different motivations. So many people miss that.

    Nano sounds like a wonderful group effort, however, it’s still too much pressure for me, but that’s more of a personal issue. Still, I admit that the support aspect of NaNo tempts me every year.

  17. Nano has worked for me, as in I stormed towards the word count and achieved it. But it didn’t help me in the process of creating something worth working on. I didn’t get the chance to get to know my characters or make wrong turns into places far more magical than anything in my rough plan. It’s the organic process of peaks and troughs, in and out of the writing and thinking times, dreams (and often for me as a horror writer, nightmares) which add layers to my stories. This doesn’t happen when all I’m concentrating on is a daily word count unfortunately.

    Have a great weekend! 🙂

    • What a beautiful reflection Shah. I love the attention you give your characters. I have to feel mine too before I begin the words or else it doesn’t feel real to me. I hope you have a lovely weekend too 🙂

  18. Passion, determination, and a great writing partner is a wonderful combo, Erika. I do well under pressure, but Nano is a little too much pressure, especially with the holidays looming. I play all kinds of tricks with myself – primarily creating imaginary characters (muses) that wring commitments out of me and kick my butt if I don’t perform. 😀

  19. That’s a great way of looking at it. Even though writing might seem like a solitary endeavour, knowing you’re sharing a common goal with others can definitely be a powerful motivator to keep going.

  20. The draw and motivation of NaNo for me is a guilt-free method of making writing a priority in my life. Life has many demands on me, so much so that I’m not allowed any time for me. At least in November, my family makes that extra push to not require my attention every waking moment. 🙂

  21. Potty training… We started back into that recently. It’s such an interesting process. Some kids learn overnight, and some take years to get it. My two year old knows how it works and is totally good with it, but she’s apparently not ready to go full time. *sigh* What can you do?

    I haven’t found social motivation to help so much with my writing. I’m driven by self-imposed expectations, and that’s enough. That’s probably why NaNo doesn’t work for me.

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