Monday, July 14, 2014

My Sidekick Is a Spreadsheet: Writing Week #2

Week 2 of my self-imposed writing challenge is now done and I’m 12,005 words “richer” than I was on June 30. ICYMI, my focus for July is primarily to get in the practice of writing every day.

As with any goal, knowing your strengths and weaknesses can make a big difference in the journey to achieving that goal. In my efforts to write every day in July, I’ve called upon the two main heroes of my life: To Do Lists and spreadsheets.

I am a big fan of lists. I am the dreaded list-maker your mama warned you about. Lists, and other linear paths of organization like spreadsheets, are how I keep sane.

Other list-makers out there (all the list-makers in the house say “Heeeey!”) know that there is nothing quite like crossing an item of your To Do List.

But, if you read last week’s post, you know that procrastination is one of my great weaknesses. What happens when a master list maker is also a master procrastinator? Inner turmoil. Ha.

The result is that as much as I get the “planner's orgasm” from crossing items off my To Do List, I will do almost anything to procrastinate on my To Do List.

That being said, if I put Writing on my To Do List I am 62% more likely to at least attempt my writing for the day so that I can cross it off the list for that little completion afterglow. I’ve discovered that reaching my goal word count for the day typically isn't very hard. I often reach my goal before I realize it. Like many things, the hard part is getting started.
Namor knows the power of the spreadsheet.

After I get started, my good friend the Spreadsheet keeps me rolling. I like to see that word count climbing. One cell calculates how far I’ve come and another cell shows how close I am to achieving my goal. It’s like magic.

The only thing that keeps me from procrastiworking on my writing by something like “I'm going to draw stick figure art to accompany this scene!” is that I can't count it towards my word goal for the day. Otherwise, you can bet your last brownie that I would suddenly want to design special art for each chapter and page heading.

Right now I’m just trying to keep focused on throwing words on the page. They say “write drunk, edit sober” but that's never going to be me. One ounce of wine and I will be ready for nap time. For me, I think the motto will be more “write passionately, edit dispassionately.” Throw my heart into it now and my critical, judgey mind can sift through the garbage later.

Now's the time to shovel some words out of the deep, dark hole of my mind. My word count is growing with each shovel ... and so is an ever-so-tiny bit of confidence. I might be getting in the swing of things. 

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