Wednesday, January 19

Don’t Break the Chain

I've found that one of my biggest problems when it comes to writing is staying disciplined and writing every day. I know that it's important to do so, but sometimes other things come up that prevent me from doing so. What they are, whether or not they're justified, ultimately doesn't matter: they're there, and they're something I need to deal with.

With my writing goals for 2011 firmly set in my mind, though, I knew that I needed to nurture daily writing, and so I turned to the internet for help. I ended up reading about Seinfeld's "Don't Break The Chain" method. Seinfeld puts a year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall, and every day he works on his current project, he puts an X on the day, eventually putting together a long chain of X's that end up serving as inspiration.

It seemed reasonable, so I decided to give it a shot, and because I'm a bit of a nerd, instead of hanging a calendar on the wall I created one in an OpenOffice spreadsheet with some conditional formatting rules built into it. So, for every day I write, the little box for the date turns green, and for every day I don't write, it's red. I'm defining "writing" as a minimum of 250 words, using Cory Doctorow's rationale that that's approximately equal to a page, which is a good starting point. My ideal goal is 1,000 words per day, but when life's getting in the way, 250 is extremely reasonable.

After starting this, I got a nice, respectable chain of 8 days. Last night I broke it. Today I start a new chain, hopefully a lot longer than the last.

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