I was listening to episodes of NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast today while on a short (1.5 hour) road trip. The first one I listened to on the drive back was about WOOP, a method of motivating yourself to accomplish goals. The scientific name for it is “mental contrasting” — picturing a goal and figuring out how to attain it. The thing that really got me was the third step: figuring out what obstacle is in yourself that is keeping you from accomplishing the thing. Because then you can’t make excuses for not doing the thing.
So after I finished the episode, I thought about the novel I’m trying to write. I already knew who the characters were, and some about the setting, but I’ve been struggling with the plot. The obstacle, of course, was me vaguely hoping I’d figure out the story, and I needed to actively work on it. So I opened up Evernote on my phone, turned on the speech-to-text thingy, and spent the drive either thinking or dictating notes. The notes are hilarious in places because I wasn’t fixing the dictation errors. So, like, “he gets caught” was recorded as “he guy Scott.” But hey, I generally know what I was saying.
By the time I got home I had a general plot, and a rough staging of the opening chapter. I sat down at my laptop, and by the time Mom called about dinner three hours later, I had 2200+ words written and am almost done with chapter two. I didn’t edit much as I went, working on getting the story down first and foremost. The only time I went back is to change, say, a skill a character had that I realized wouldn’t work out when I got to the next scene.
So yeah, I’m writing a thing. I hope I can keep up the momentum. I’m rather enjoying my characters right now, and I’d hate to leave them hanging…
(And special thanks to my younger sister, for getting me hooked on the podcast. You rock, kiddo!)