Witness My Self-Bribery: An Attempt To Manipulate Myself

I cannot stay focused, I have no motivation, and I loooooooove to procrastinate. Do you see all those ‘o’s? That’s a lot of love, people!

In an attempt to remedy this lack in my writing life, I have decided to resort to bribing myself. Of course, if I tell no one, then there’s no one to hold me accountable, hence: I’m pulling you folks in, to act as hawk-eyed witnesses! I both thank and dislike you all, in advance.

Here are the conditions to receive my reward (which I will reveal in a moment) –

  1. Finish typing up the remainder of my 215 misplaced missives. As of typing this, there are 67 posted missives on this site and an additional 92 typed up and mostly polished on my laptop. That leaves a final 56 that need attention.
  2. Take all those missives and schedule them for every Monday from now until eternity aka when they run out in 148 Mondays.
  3. Keep hitting the 15th of each month with a playlist. I’ve been behaving with this one so far, but honestly, we’ll see how I fair once I run out of the states that produce music I like. Alaska and South Dakota? I’m looking at you, guys.
  4. Edit through Book One. And name the damn thing already. I figure I’ll mostly use National Novel Writing Month to finish this process up and then ship it off to an editor where I can pretend it doesn’t exist. I fully expect this to be the first of a trilogy no one may read, but I’ve been sidetracked by another book idea. I had this crazy dream that hasn’t left my brain and it’s taking up space where my book should be living. It needs to stop that, seriously.
  5. Write book reviews for recently read books. Of which, there are five! I’m a fairly avid reader of random and varied texts, as well as a studious note-taker of said texts, but I have typed and prettied none of them.
  6. Read More! I’m a book behind on my 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge! Curses!

Six conditions seem easy enough right? This is my ‘To Be Accomplished’ list before I can reward myself. And what will that reward be, you may ask. Please pardon my hollering as I get overexcited and drool all over my keyboard.


I read The Golden Compass, the first in the original series, when I was in middle school. I was lucky because the last book in the trilogy had come out the year or so before, so I could read them all in a row.  And they were….. magical? vivid? life altering? Very few books before or since have so captured me. This was the first novel I hit under my bed covers with a flashlight to read, in the dead of night, defying bedtimes and parental instructions. I had loved Harry Potter, hell I still love Harry Potter, with all its lessons about bravery and friendship, but this series taught me to question where I had previous thought only to obey.  This series had villains I could fear and understand, heroes I could admire and disagree with, and wonders I could only wish were real.

When I finish my list above, I’ll buy Pullman’s newest novel, La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1). And once I’ve bought it, I’ll reread His Dark Materials first to really immerse myself in that world, and then I’ll shut myself in my room, away from the world, and read buried under covers, defying reasonable waking hours and adult obligations. That’ll be four long, lovingly rendered readings and reviews. I have high expectations.

But that’s in the future! In the here and now, please wish me all of the luck and inspiration to get the above done. And you know, failing that, please yell at me a little to get me back on track when I inevitably stumble.

Thank you muchly,
Jessie Gutierrez

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