Three Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Writing

Celeste Davidson
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"Let every man be master of his time." - William Shakespeare (Macbeth)

How many words did you write last week? How much time did you spend writing?
Every writer should be able to answer these questions. But, if you don’t track your progress, it’s problematic.
Some believe that measuring one's writing metrics is a waste of time, another tool of procrastination. However, even if you’re just starting out, reviewing your growth is not only a beneficial endeavor, but one essential to your craft.
If you don’t monitor your progress, how can you ensure you’re on track to reach your goals? (Not to mention it’s super satisfying to watch your word count go up and up.) In the absence of such a system, it's all too easy to spin your wheels, without even realizing it.
Before you jump on the tracking wagon, however, step away from that complicated spreadsheet. Allow Will.Power, to do the work for you instead, by reporting all your writing metrics automatically, (among other wonderful features, btw).
Here are three reasons why you should utilize Will.Power to track your way to success, from now on.

1. Build momentum—and don’t break the chain.
Bardsy’s First Law of Motion: a writer in motion stays in motion. During his early career, Brad Isaac asked Jerry Seinfeld for advice on making it in the comedy world. He recalls:
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.

“After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
While I don’t believe in the rain-or-shine requirement of writing daily, and much prefer to keep my calendar on Bardsy and my cuckoo clock collection on the wall, the point is this: regularly reviewing your progress reinforces your momentum. Maybe you wrote for three days in a row without noticing. When you look back and see that fact in simple numbers, you naturally want to keep it up. And it becomes less challenging to do so, since the more often you write, the more reflexive it becomes.
2. Plan how long it will take to reach your goals.
When you have no idea how long it will take you to achieve an outcome, it can seem as if it is never going to happen. Instead, calculate approximately how long it will take to complete that short story or novel using the information in your tracker, bringing your writing goals within reach and providing a clear path to attain them.
Let’s say I want to write a novel in three months. If I don’t monitor my work along the way, it can be a disappointing shock to realize, at the end of that time, I only completed six chapters. You have to check in with what you’ve done and where you are to grasp where you are going.
Understanding that, at my current rate, it’ll take me at least a year (including revisions!) to reach my goal might just what I need to kick it into high gear. Once I know how much I should be writing to reach my desired outcome, I can set daily or weekly goals and make sure I stay on track.
With big aims, daily advancements can feel like a drop in the ocean. But, when you know you are doing what you need to reach your goal in a given time frame, you can be proud of your progress. Whether it’s a thousand words in a day or a three-day writing streak, keep the writing motivation flowing by celebrating your little wins along the way.
3. Reflect on what’s working for you—and what’s not.
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We often overestimate how often we do things, but tracking eliminates this weakness. When we track we just have the facts, not our subjective reflections.
— Betsy Ramser Jaime

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There are times that I think I write at least a thousand words only to discover my count is actually only four hundred—or vice versa. Our minds are unreliable, but your tracker is not open to interpretation! It will take the guess work out of the equation and help you confront the strengths and weaknesses in your practice.
You should regularly take stock of your storytelling progress and check in with yourself. If you’re disappointed that you only wrote one time last week, aim for two sessions next week. Unless you’re satisfied with your output, always aim higher. Make it a habit to regularly review your history and adjust your process as necessary.
While you’re monitoring your growth in Will.Power, I encourage you to record some thoughts about your journey in our built-in journal. Did you write like a fiend last Thursday? Reflect on what factors contributed to it (so you can replicate that scenario in the future!). Conversely, if your output took a big dip last weekend, figure out why and strategize ways to remove obstacles. There can be no improvement without reflection.


Reviewing your progress isn’t only a matter of counting your words and time, saying “Whoopee!” or “Boo” and moving on. It’s a continuous habit of reflection that drives action. Tracking has been one of my greatest sources of motivation, and it can be for you too. Get on the right track with Will.Power.
Try this: Write a few lines about a person trying to track down a long lost family member—someone who has good reason to want to stay lost. Email your best response to adam@bardsy.com for a chance to be featured!
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to do notes journal Tracking
Click a tab to use Will.Power
TO DO LIST:
Add tasks to your sortable list, then revel in checking things off.

NOTES:
Cache your gems in your virtual scratch pad.

JOURNAL:
Reflect on your process — good, bad and ugly — in your dated diary.

TRACKING:
Measure your progress with key writing metrics, automatically,
ADD DO
Show Dones
Metric:
Words
Minutes
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