Preparing for writing in 2016

So, this is the time of year when people tend to make resolutions. Personally, I prefer to set goals. That way, any progress towards them is a good thing, and lack of progress is less about personal failing than needing to reassess either the goals themselves or my plans for attaining them. Whatever you call this process, maintaining motivation to keep at it is important. One of the areas that tends to have lots of goals is writing, a largely solitary activity that can frequently get pushed aside for just about anything and everything else, even if you really want to be writing.

There are a number of ways to set writing goals for oneself. Time set aside per day. Works submitted. One that I (and many other writers I’ve spoken with) find useful is word count. Because maybe nothing was ready for submission, but writing happened and should be acknowledged! Conversely, with a time goal, I can ditz and futz around the internet and call it “writing research” during that set-aside time and not actually write a blessed thing. That … is generally unhelpful. Research may need doing (okay, it generally needs doing), but translating it into actual words holds me accountable for that research to be useful and not meander into the realm of memes and cat videos.

For word count goals to be motivational, it does help to have a way to keep track of them, particularly if you want to see them add up over the year. So, a friend and I were chatting about this on The Social Network That Shall Not Be Named (TSNTSNBN), and I happened to mention my (rather clunky) method of spreadsheet tracking. It’s nowhere near as automated as I’d like, but it gets the job done. Have you ever tried explaining, though, how to set up even simple spreadsheet commands in the context of a comment on TSNTSNBN? It really doesn’t work.

Separated from my precious screen-capture software by an hour’s drive and a holiday break that has the university well and truly closed, I turned to PowerPoint, which … sort of worked. The result is below.

This is likely to be the only entry for today, btw, because it is icy and gross out, with more icy stuff still falling from the sky. So no library for me today, and the lighting in my apartment is subsequently even poorer than usual. A PowerPoint is probably more interesting than a talking head anyway, right?

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