In the last week and a half, I’ve been using one simple trick to writing consistently. Yes, I know that sounds like a click bait headline, but it really has worked for me. I’ve done over 4,000 words in ten days. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but my output for the same time period a few weeks back was zero. What is this trick that has sparked my inspiration?
A simple, twelve line spreadsheet.
I’m thinking of calling it my Word Count Spreadsheet of Doom, because everything sounds better with melodramatic names. It is similar to the concept of The Magic Spreadsheet. The Magic Spreadsheet is designed to be public and has a ranking system that will gradually increase your daily goal. I prefer for now to keep my word count private for the moment and not worry about ranking. I’ve tried sites like Written? Kitten! and 750 Words but they haven’t stuck with me for some reason. This spreadsheet has.
My set up is as follows. I have set myself a goal of 250 words a day on whatever story I am working on at the time. My blog posts do not count towards the daily total. Otherwise most of them would fulfill my goal alone. In the spreadsheet, I set an automatic formatting rule based on that number. When a number is below 250, the text turns red. All other figures are in black. My goal is to minimize the amount of red I have on the document. I have a calculation that says how much I have written total for the month and year, and what my daily average calculated over a month and over a year is.
I’m still figuring out my plans going forward. I plan on inserting notes when I don’t make my count explaining why I failed, so I have a history to figure out exactly what stops me from writing. Once writing 250 words is no longer a challenge, say after a month, I will double it to 500 words and pick a new color. Then I will be trying to minimized that color. I’m not going to track how many words I’m writing per project. I’m not that obsessive… yet.