The Magic Spreadsheet at one year

Photo Credit: Antonio Litterio.

Photo Credit: Antonio Litterio.

Nearly a year ago, I posted about the Magic Spreadsheet, which is a method to write at a steady pace by demanding you write a minimum of 250 words per day. In my case, it wasn’t the spreadsheet or the elaborate point system that I needed. It was just the mindset. 250 words is only one double-spaced page and isn’t that hard to write in 15 minutes, but it’s also enough to draft a complete novel in a year. Keeping that in mind is what motivated me to keep at it.

And it worked! I am pleased to announce that today marks 365 consecutive days of writing at least 250 words per day!

…Okay, so I have to cheat a little and define a day from 9AM to 9AM, but that was just the one time! Even so, I have written 150,000 words of original fiction in the past year, along with a fair bit of outlining and editing. And I did that in spite of having a considerably more difficult year than I anticipated.

I’ve learned two important things from this experience.

1. Sleep is important. Seriously, you cannot keep running your body on 5-6 hours of sleep night after night. Not even with caffeine. I learned that the hard way. You may feel like you don’t have the time, but trust me, you will be more productive if you take the extra two hours at night so you can actually be awake in the morning.

Basically, if your life starts to sound like this song, you’re doing it wrong.

2. Don’t give up! Even if you miss a day, it’s no big deal. Just keep at it, and make it up if you can. If you’re stuck on one project, work on a different one. Or do some outlining. Just keep the creative flow going. It definitely improves with practice.

Now, I’m still trying to solve my other problem: how to keep a steady pace of editing. If I ever figure that out, I’ll be sure to post it. Stay tuned.

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About Alex R. Howe

I'm a full-time astrophysicist and a part-time science fiction writer.
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