Looking at the title of this post, you might be wondering... what exactly am I accepting bribes for? Well, put your wallet away and save your money to buy beads, because I'm not taking bribes from you. I'm taking bribes... from me.
(Although I'll always accept donations of stray Barbie dolls, flamingos, and Oreos. I'm just saying.)
You see, I've been really busy with my e-book. I've put a lot of work into it over the past few weeks, and I can honestly say that I love it so far. It's been a ton of fun to write -- even editing has been fun, if you can believe it!
It makes me wish I'd started working on it sooner. The thing is? I might never have started it if I hadn't gotten sick of procrastinating and decided to do something drastic. And yes, that thing was bribery. Here's how I bribe myself...
If there's something I really want to do, like go down to the basement and dye doll hair or watch a movie on the couch, I tell myself that I can do it if I do some writing first. Once I've done a good chunk of work on the book, I'll play around for an hour or so, and then I'll start the cycle again. It's amazing how much I can get done in a day when I use this approach.
It took me forever to consider it. For most of my life, I thought bribery was a bad thing, especially when it came to creative work. Because working on the thing should be its own reward, right? And if I wasn't excited to work on the thing, it was a sign I wasn't meant to do it, right? And separating my creative life into things that are fun and things that are work is an unhealthy attitude, right?
It makes sense, right until you get to the part where I'm an anxious, nervous person who gets more anxious and nervous when a project is important to her. A person who finds the act of sitting down in front of an open document more intimidating than actually writing... and who keeps forgetting how awesome writing feels once she gets going.
I've only read the first part of The War of Art, and I'm not sure I'll get any further than that, but Steven Pressfield calls this persistent persnickety procrastination Resistance. He sees Resistance as an enemy we have to fight so we can do the things that really matter.
I don't agree with everything he has to say, but I do see Resistance as an enemy. After all, it's a part of me, and we're often our own worst enemy, right? So when it comes to fighting this enemy, I don't mind fighting dirty. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, I know all the tricky little things I do to sabotage myself, and now I'm learning how to use these to my advantage.
I love learning new things, which is awesome, but I also love becoming obsessed with these things and using them as an excuse to abandon projects. Sneaky, sneaky me. So I'm using my obsessions against my Resistance. I'm making my pursuit of fun new things contingent on following through with projects, and in doing this, I'm turning my self-sabotage into motivation. Sneaky, sneaky me.
And the really funny thing is? Bribery isn't just keeping me motivated -- it's keeping me sane. If I'm alternating between work and play, I'm bringing more balance to my life and preventing creative burnout. I'm also giving my days the right amount of structure. Enough to keep me moving, but not so much that I feel like I'm in high school again.
(In case you're wondering... high school was like a four year raisin. Yuckballs!!!)
In a perfect world, I wouldn't need to trick myself into working. I'd wake up every morning, bursting with energy and impatient to get started, and it would take a team of super strong flamingos to keep me away from opening that file or making those kits or washing those dishes. But it doesn't rain sequins, and Oreos don't grow on trees, and every house does not come with its own Don Knotts clone, so I'm thinking, this isn't a perfect world.
So I do what I need to do. And things get done.
(Silly Don. There are never too many beads!)
Now it's your turn: do you bribe yourself, or use any other little tricks, to get through your Resistance? Thanks for sharing with me!
PS: The Don Knotts thing is an inside joke between me and Mr. Sequin. It's hard to explain, but believe me -- it's hilarious. Also, I make the Don Knotts face when I concentrate.