Last night, I proved to myself that providing a relevant incentive actually works.
I pre-ordered Goldenhand, the latest in the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix, months ago. Having set myself a target for October to get me back into the habit of writing a lot, as preparation for NaNoWriMo, I asked my family to hide it from me until I hit my target.
I mostly forgot about it, until last night when I suddenly really wanted to read it. My family duly refused, knowing how close I was to the target.
What followed was beautiful: a timey-wimey conversation which exercised the limits of our tense-stretching abilities, in which I blamed my past self for insisting and my other half’s past self for agreeing to it. This naturally spawned an idea, which I promptly folded into my existing time travel story, because I’m simultaneously lazy and organised.
Following this was another wonderful thing: in the space of an hour and a half I wrote 3000 words (and a bit over) to get me past my target for October.
This has led me to two conclusions: that the previously stated incentive is a powerful motivating force; and that phase outlining really works for me.