I struggle with self-discipline in all things, not the least of which is keeping myself on a regular writing schedule each day. As Mur Lafferty mentions in her terrific podcast I Should Be Writing (ISBW #301), Cory Doctorow pointed out that if a writer puts out only 250 words per day, the result will be a novel in a year. It sounds simple, but my writing is more like panic-and-binge than the machinelike regularity I’d like to develop.
Enter The Magic Spreadsheet. It’s a brilliant idea–to tap into the natural human competitive spirit and our tendency to become creatures of habit. The Magic Spreadsheet awards points, one point for 250 words, and level-ups for consistency. After keeping up with a daily quota for awhile, who would want to break the chain? Not me. I’m going to give this a try, and if it’s like so many others’ experience with this simple strategy, (I suppose for me it’s a tactic, since I’m just starting it.) I’ll make progress on my “extracurricular” science-fiction novel while keeping up with the MFA responsibilities of pushing my literary novel forward and annotating books.
If any of you has tried using a word count spreadsheet in an attempt to make yourself more productive, I’d like to hear about your experience.
By the way, there are a few of you who seem to read my message-in-a-bottle blog fairly regularly. I’d just like to say Thanks for tuning in. I really appreciate it.