Track Your Writing (or why a watched pot actually boils faster!)

I’ve stated that I write 1,000 words/day and read over 90 books/year. “Yeah, that’s great,” you say, “But you can’t possibly know that!”

Here’s my PROOF. Haha. Get it?

Introducing: Writing and Reading Tracker

“Why would you do this?!?”

It’s simple, really. On ScribbleSplatter, I mentioned the idea of tracking as a method of improving output. It turns out that if I track things, my output increases. Ever heard of gamification? It’s a marketing buzzword by now. The logic behind it: It’s more fun when your results are tracked. Xbox360 Achievements, the flagship example, convinces millions of gamers to dump hours into games long past the point where the video games themselves are fun. Sounds terrible? Yeah, I cringed when one person bragged that they’d earned over a million Gamer Points. Hate it or harness it. WordPress gives inspirational quotes and how many more articles I need until I hit the next milestone. Each time it pops up, I get a thrill similar to having finished a great workout.

Tracking beats off the cuff estimates. In Quality Assurance, metrics are king. Testers who say, “Yeah, I totally tested it,” find themselves jobless. Equally, writers who say, “Yeah, I totally write, like, a ton,” like I did, don’t even get the job.

Like all game-design efforts, my tracker has some pitfalls:

– Measures actions taken, not learning acquired.
– Entirely quantitative. No quality metrics but my conscience.
– Requires daily upkeep for Writing, infrequent upkeep for Reading. Actually a positive for me: I should write and read and think of both daily. It’s my job. Besides, the upkeep’s only a minute or two per day (No metrics on that!). What a small downside!
– It’s not really a game, it’s a tracker. Good thing, because Writing is Serious Business.

The increased output and personal accountability by far beat the identified downsides. I use Anki for Japanese, and the slew of data it provides motivates me better than the fact I’m learning Japanese. Likewise with this and writing. Likewise with Workout sheets and fitness. This is the secret of gamification.

Or I’m just a data nerd. Could just be that. I think I got that from my mom.

But either way, love it, leave it, print it out and burn it. Whatever you do:

Keep Writing.

3 thoughts on “Track Your Writing (or why a watched pot actually boils faster!)

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