Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Making Progress

My summer vacation is my time to write, and I've been writing for about 4-5 hours a day. It's a slow process and I've gotten frustrated a lot, because I know I still have so much more to go.

Eileen Wiedbrauk posted an article last week about progress for a writer. The author, David H. Hendricks discussed using something physical that you can measure your progress with. He suggested a cup for a penny. Now, David is a bit more ambitious (or perhaps motivated) than I in, because he is able to put a penny in his cup for every 10,000 words that he writes. 10,000 words is too much for me. That wouldn't look like progress.

Instead, I decided to put a penny in for every 1,000 words that I write.

It's simple, but for some reason it's worked these last few days. I actually find myself staying at the table and writing more just to get another penny.

It reminds me of my friends who potty train their kids for an M & M. Seriously? One M & M to go to the bathroom? I always thought it was crazy until I started to use pennies (in fact, now that I think about, M & Ms might be better but I'd eat all my progress!).

I chose a cup that has meaning to me (it's one of my grandpa's cups from the Yacht Club we belonged to growing up). The cup now sits next to my computer...

And I have almost 20 cents now! Hot diggity dog...I'm rich!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go earn another penny!

What about you? What do you use to motivate or writing or keep track of progress?


Kristan said...

"now that I think about, M & Ms might be better but I'd eat all my progress!"

Haha, I had the same thought! But maybe that's the reward? Once you finish an ms, you get to eat the cup of M&Ms? Then it's reset for your next set of goals, like editing chapters, or a new WIP, or whatever!

I don't measure my goals tangibly like this, but maybe I should... Mostly I just have a daily to-do list and get satisfaction from crossing things off. But I think M&Ms would be better!

Sarah Enni said...

Holy cow, this is such a simple but AMAZING idea! I am the person that draws little boxes on my to-do lists so I can put big dramatic check marks in them. This would OBVIOUSLY work for me.

*puts this on to-do list*

Thanks for sharing! (And your cup is so cute, too. Good idea to use one that is meaningful.)

Lisa Nowak said...

That's a great idea. I'm glad to hear you're making progress!