I’ve been attending a local writing group the last month and one of the participants mentioned something called “The Magic Spreadsheet“.

As described by this one web site:

The Magic Spreadsheet is a simple online tool to help you build a habit of writing at least 250 words a day.

Most of the spreadsheets I found were large, not kept up to date and took forever to load.

So what? What is the big deal about a spreadsheet anyhow?

What I believe some get out of the Magic Spreadsheet is a sense of competition. You see what other people are (or are not) writing and many naturally want “to do at least as much as that guy/gal”. Since I’m running my own spreadsheet, I don’t have the lag, but I do have myself to compete against. It’s easy to tell myself, “I want to do at least what I did yesterday or better”.

What really gets me (this is where the “power of the spreadsheet” comes into play), is that I do not want a break in the chain count. The existence of that one column reveals that I wrote at least 250 words yet another day or not. It has been a huge help this first week in keeping me accountable and driving a sense of accomplishment. It also lets me “see” exactly if there is a break of a day (or longer) with my writing.

At least twice in the past seven days it was near midnight and I gritted my teeth, forcing myself to stay awake ten more minutes, in order to get my writing done and not break the chain. I found I did not die from lack of those ten minutes of sleep! I also found, a sense of pride in overcoming common excuses of mine and getting that many more words written that didn’t exist before.

After performing a brief search on the internet, I couldn’t find a daily/yearly word tracker I was happy with. Thus, I created a simplified spreadsheet to track my words per day. I also started tracking this about a week ago, while on a business trip, which is a challenge in and of itself since I’m not in my “normal” writing place or having a normal schedule.

I’m sharing my simplified word tracker with you, in the hopes that maybe it will be enough to encourage you to keep writing at least 250 words per day.

 Download: YTD & Daily Word Tracking_v1

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