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michaelcrane

Michael's Book Babble

I'm an indie author and a scribbler of inane babble. I talk about books I've read/liked. Or at least, that's the plan.

 

Most of the reviews will be considered "mini-reviews." Usually, it's mostly my reaction to what I've been reading. There are people who are far better at doing full and helpful reviews. But I still have fun doing them, and hope you enjoy them!

Currently reading

Hitch-22: A Memoir
Christopher Hitchens
Progress: 90/1054 minutes
Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories
Craig Johnson
Progress: 105/184 pages

How My Fitbit Helped Break My Writing Rut

The TL;DR version: Tracking your daily word count on a spread sheet can help you break your writing rut. I have some other tips at the end that have helped me, too. Those are in bold.

 

This is a long post. I apologize in advance. Also, I understand I'm repeating myself here--this is because I posted this entry on my Tumblr account, but figured I might as well post it here, too.

 

This year I’ve been focusing on getting myself healthy, and since December of last year I’ve lost almost twenty pounds. I bought myself a Fitbit before the end of last year, and I have to say it helped keep me motivated. I loved meeting my step goals and whatnot. It encouraged me to be more active, and to not sit still for long periods of time.

 

But there was one thing that wasn’t quite healthy about me yet, and that was my writing habits. I’d suffered the worst writer’s rut of my life, and it lasted about a year. I’d sit down and try to write, but nothing would strike me. Frustrated, I’d give up and go back to doing whatever I was doing all the while wondering if I’d ever get my fire back.

 

And then a funny thing happened. As I began to watch my step numbers religiously and pushed myself to meet my step goal almost every day (and even go over it), I wondered if I could do the same thing with my writing. So, I decided to make spreadsheets and track my daily word count. I set a minimum goal of 500 words. I know that’s not a lot, and that’s the point. I wanted to set a realistic goal for myself, and a goal that I can most likely double when I’m on a roll. I also wanted to set a small enough goal that’d keep me motivated to write that day even if I didn’t have the time or the motivation. 500 seemed like an easy enough place to reach even on my worst days—and it’d still motivate me to try even if I could only get in a few hundred words. In the past I’d set a goal of a thousand words, and there would be some days I wouldn’t even try because I knew I couldn’t reach anywhere close to that.

 

It’s been a month since I’ve started tracking my daily word count, and it’s been a HUGE motivator. I never realized how quickly those writing days could add up, even on the days where I just went over a thousand by maybe twenty words or so. And I also saw that the days where I wrote nothing added exactly that to my overall word count: zero.

 

That’s when I realized how important it is to write a little every day. I don’t have to write a thousand words each day, but I should write something every day, even if it’s only a few hundred words. The small days add up.

 

A big part of my problem was the fact I wasn’t even trying. On the days where I didn’t think I had more than a few hundred words in me, I just wouldn’t do it. I figured why bother? It wouldn’t add up to anything in the end.

 

Wrong. And tracking my daily word count, I see that now. It may sound silly, but doing so has really reenergized me.

 

For anybody struggling, I highly recommend this. You’ll get to see how quickly it all adds up. By the end of today, I’ll have well over 45,000 words for the month. And to see those actual numbers encourage me to keep going. To write as much as I can, even on the days where I’m pressed for time or don’t have the motivation. I would’ve never thought that all of those writing days would add up to a number like that in one month.

 

Write a little every day. It’ll add up.

 

 

 

Some other things that have helped me along the way:

 

Journaling – This month I’ve gotten into a healthy habit of journaling every morning, or almost every morning. The journal entries are almost always about how my writing’s going, and what I’d like to accomplish. It’s a great way to get your mind rattling off ideas. You can test out character names and whatnot—sometimes it’s important to see what a name looks like in print. Journaling also helps beef up your word count for the day, too. A very easy way to get in a few hundred words. And it counts. Hell, I’m even counting this blog post.

 

Writing prompts/Apps – There are some wonderful apps out there for writers. I found a couple for my iPhone. They’re not free, but they’re extremely helpful. If you have an iPhone or iPad, I highly recommend checking out Writing Challenge and Writer Lists. Do a prompt every day if you’re not working on something currently. You never know what it’ll spark. And even if it doesn’t, you’re still getting some writing done for the day.

 

Write early – I know this can be a tough one, especially if you have a day job. I know, I have one. But I usually get to work early enough to where I can sit down and at the very least start a quick journal entry, which will usually give me a few hundred words. Then I’ll write during my lunch break if possible. Getting some writing done early—any writing, will start your day off on the right track. That way if something comes up and you’re unable to write later, at least you’ll already have some writing done for the day.