The young adult author and librarian Bridget Zinn left us much too soon when she lost her brave battle with colon cancer earlier this year. I never met her but I was (I am) a fan of her blog. One of my favorite entries concerned her “naughty methods” for motivating herself to write. I’ve included highlights from the entry below. I hope you find Zinn’s advice as charming and inspiring as I do.
P. S. Keep an eye out for Bridget’s debut novel, Poison, in summer 2012 (Disney/Hyperion). I’ve heard it’s reminiscent of The Princess Bride.
Bridget Zinn’s Sort of Naughty Methods For Getting Writing Done:
1) I am a sneaky writer. I like to think of writing less as something that should be done (and done with a capital “W”) and more as something sort of naughty that I absolutely should not be doing because there are other capital letter (and lame) things to do like Cleaning.
I think it’s sort of like the Catholic school girls (like the one who raised me) sneaking out for a smoke. It just feels a bit bad and yet oh, so good. Writing when you shouldn’t is just like eating cake for no reason at all.
After a while, it seems like writing weaves itself into your life and you don’t realize that you are spending all of this time Writing with a capital “W”.
3) I never force myself to sit down at a desk. It feels naughtier and less like Writing to write in random places. I sometimes end up at a desk after a while, but I like to just “play around” and take my laptop or notebook wherever seems like the most fun at the time. Right now my favorite sneaky writing spot is at the table on the back porch with a big pot of tea (and a lot of cushions under me), but sometimes I write in bed with a cat cuddled up with me or on the couch (ignoring the dirty laundry) and I used to write all over Madison depending on when I had a little break between jobs, classes, etc.
4) Rewards. I am a huge huge huge believer in rewards. For big things, little things, in between things. If I write so much as one word a day, I get a reward. This sounds so impossibly inefficient and yet I can look back and say it must work because I’ve written quite a few novels with this method. Some days one word is enough. Usually, my reward for writing is to spend some time reading whatever novel I’m currently in love with. I get bigger rewards for finishing things. Like cake! (Reward Cake is not to be confused with No Special Reason and Feels a Bit Decadent Cake — both are good but you enjoy them differently).