I’ve decided I need a progress meter to keep me writing. I need to be able to visually mark off the number of words I am writing a day and remind myself of any progress made, otherwise I’m going to quickly run out of motivation.
So, I’ve created my own, NaNo inspired, charting system. I simply type in my current word total and my spreadsheet automatically updates two handy little graphs – one showing my current word count increase on a day-by-day basis and another that charts my daily word total throughout December. It even has a little box to keep track of my average daily word-count. (Okay, so I didn’t actually create the spreadsheet: I asked my deliciously handsome fiancé to do it for me…and, that’s enough grateful flattery for him!)
I now seriously believe that part of my success with NaNoWriMo is seeing that bar chart visually map my progress with increasingly tall bars. It’s so satisfying, and when I see a blip in the record it makes me pout. It’s an unusual, but productive, method of motivation and reward on the same screen. It is slightly shameful how excited I get by being able to type in a new figure and then watch with glee as the bar chart updates with a nice incremental curve. It makes me glow.
To make it even more motivational I’m planning to post weekly snapshots of my graphs on this blog – possibly to replace my Saturday teases from NaNo: although I may post a paragraph or two of the novel as I go too, just to prove I’m not cheating and fiddling the figures!
I figure I need some accountability – people who expect me to write and will notice when I don’t and call me on it. I’m fortunate to have found a couple of very decent writerly friends who have played such a role during November, and now request they continue to (gently) remind me to keep up to my side of the pledge made. I’ll keep plugging away at my novel, watching those bars rise to create a sky-scraper city on my screen, and my writing buddies will keep nudging away until I finally find those alluring words again – ‘The End’.
I don’t know which I’m more excited about: the creation of a beautiful upward curve of a bar chart tracking my progress, or the story of the characters in the novel…Fortunately they’re not mutually exclusive goals, so I can have my bar chart and eat the novel too (no, wait, that’s not right is it?! Who cares?! I’m writing my book AND being a nerd about it too – joy!!).