Carrot or Stick?

Recently a friend sent me a link to According to the website, StickK is a method for setting and achieving goals developed by Yale economists. You make a commitment contract (for exercise, weight loss, writing, or just about any other goal) and if you don’t meet your goal, you donate a sum of money you designate to a cause of your choice.

It got me thinking about my work-in-progress and the snail’s pace at which it is progressing. In my defense, I’ve been really trying to work for an hour every day. When I miss, it’s usually due to issues related to my disabled husband, the kids or the house. (It is NOT a good thing when you are on a first-name basis with your plumbing and heating guys.) But there are days when I’m tired and the words don’t come.

Although it sounds like StickK works for a lot of people, I’m not sure it would be right for me. I already have a tendency to beat myself up, so maybe I don’t need a program like that to do it to me.

One thing I have learned helps my productivity is seeing my progress visually. When I participated in National Novel Writing Month a few years ago, I loved logging my daily wordcount and watching the graph update. So this week, I decided to look for something similar. Here’s my progress bar from

Click to view daily statistics

Unfortunately, life intervened on Wednesday and Thursday and so I haven’t had the fun of updating my wordcount. As for today, a dear friend and I are taking a mental health day and going for what is probably our last hurrah of the season on the ski slopes.

Next week I will be productive. I promise!

How about you? What sort of motivation do you find works best?

Also, Heaven Sent is my working title, but I’m worried that it sounds too much like an inspirational romance. What do you think?


About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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