Friday, 10 July 2015

Numbers as Motivators

Like a lot of 'word' people, I'm not overly comfortable with numbers. I'm not a confident mathematician when it comes to percentages and decimals and fractions and a lot of the things I should be conversant with. But that doesn't mean I don't like the numbers.

Because Excel is more number based (therefore confusing and something I get frustrated with) I prefer to play with my numbers in different ways. I like counting and writing things out in graphs and lists that aren't on Excel.  I have a giant whiteboard that takes up half of one of my study walls where I like to keep most of my numbers.

To motivate myself, I have lists upon lists of numbers. I get competitive with myself, trying to beat last year's numbers or last week's. This isn't always sustainable because I travel a lot and lose time and habits that way. I have a journal I kept for a year where I meticulously wrote down my numbers for the day. Of course this habit has died.

But there are some stats I will always watch. Money isn't one of those. Many people find money motivating but for writing, I prefer to look at the words. I keep a detailed count of my yearly words, short stories, novellas, anthologies. I like to see how many of each thing I'm writing, the words I've put into short story form versus novel form and how much I'm managing each year. I can see the good years and the bad and what I need to aim for.

Last year I wrote 233,980 words. Better than the year before but below what I know I can do. There have been reasons, excuses, a lot of traveling and a lot of busyness. But those numbers are a stark reminder of reality. Reasons and excuses don't end up on the board, just the numbers. This year, I can do better.

Just because we're 'word' people doesn't mean we can't like numbers. Instead of motivational quotes, which I know many people love, I keep my motivational counts where I can see them. Everyone needs to find their own motivator and keep it in sight.

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing- that's why we recommend it daily. -Zig Ziglar

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