Saturday, March 30, 2013

Getting the Words Down

I’ve been struggling this year getting the words down.  Part of it is that I’ve actually been sleeping better (thank you, exercise).  But part of it is that I’ve been finding excuses not to write.  I’ll be too tired or there’s something else I need to do (or just wind up doing instead). 

My own work. Created using "Inkscape"...

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Up until this year, I’d tracked my activities in a spreadsheet as they related to my writing career.  I’d track words written, time spent illustrating, time spent working on the blog(s).  I wanted to see how this year was stacking up to last year.  According to my spreadsheet, I wrote just under 28,000 words last year.  I was a little surprised.  That’s pretty low, about half of what I did in November, 2011.  At that rate, I’d only be able to crank out a first draft of a novel every 2 years.   That just wasn’t going to cut it.  I needed to kick start my motivation and improve my word count quite a bit over my 2012 figures.

So, I decided to find something that would help me set and achieve a goal.  I thought an app might do the trick.  I’ve had pretty good success tracking my blood pressure and foods eaten since I found apps to do that (and my BP and weight have both come down, for which I give credit to those apps for helping me).  WriteChain looked promising, but there was no Android version, and the Android apps I found just weren’t quite what I was looking for.  So, I kept hunting.

I eventually found this word tracker.  Since I was on my computer to write and use my existing spreadsheet anyway, another spreadsheet was just as good in my eyes as an Android app.  I liked the pirate’s color scheme best, so I updated it for 2013 (the first date in the date column on each page must be updated; I’ll probably change that at some time to point to a single cell somewhere in the workbook).  Without a good idea as to the goal I should set, I stuck with the default of 200k words.  I’ve still been tracking in my original spreadsheet, since there I can input activities besides writing (like illustrating), but I’ve been using this, too.

What’s the result?  Well, I seriously doubt if I’ll hit 200,000 words this year, although I’ll almost certainly participate in nanowrimo this year to get a bump in my word count and try to get closer.  It hasn’t had the impact I thought it would, and I’m nowhere near where I should be for this time of year to reach that goal, but I did see a 41% uptick in my word count for February versus January after I started using this (March, however, was abysmal, since I spent nearly all my spare time trying to get Derrick the Dog finalized).  So, I consider that a small win.  I also think that once I get Derrick published, that I should see some further gains.

 

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