3 Dec

Project Diligent December is well on its way, though I must admit it has been diligent in every way except for writing.  While the past two days have been extremely productive, as far as home and health are concerned, I’ve been starved for a chance to write, write, write.  

Right before I wrote this, I crunched numbers and set some concrete daily goals.  I’m aiming for a total of 70,000 words by Christmas Eve.  Right now, I’ve got 51,710.  That’s a total of 18,290 in the next 22 days: not bad, not bad.  This means I’m 73.87% to my goal.

So, in order to meet it, I counted the number of days that are already filled with plans:  this weekend (a trip to New Orleans), the next Saturday (I’m the pianist for a wedding), the next weekend (weekend date/trip-to-a-fun-hotel with my sweet husband!), and then, of course, travel to my family’s house on the 23rd.  That leaves about fifteen relatively free days to work.  After calculating how many words it would take if I only got to write the minimum amount for those fifteen days (1,219), and then calculating how many it would take if I wrote the minimum every single day (831), I’ve settled on an average of those for my daily goal: 1025/day.

Can you tell I love Excel spreadsheets, by the way?  Maybe not, because all you see are the numbers.  A while back, I created a table that easily calculates all this information for me.  That way, I can insert one number (my grand total) and see, at a glance: how much I’ve written that day, how much I need to write to meet my daily goal, a running total of how ahead/behind I am, how many total words are waiting to be written, percentage of completion, and a monthly total of words written.  It’s color-coded and pretty, too.

Okay, friends!  Thanks for bearing with my inner math-nerd today.  It helps just knowing other people are aware of my goals – much harder to make excuses that way.  

I’m so ready to write, but alas, I have to take care of two more things before I can work on the novel today.  So far, Merrilee Faber and Jennifer Neri have added some writing goals to the Diligent December comment section – anyone else want to join the ranks for some encouragement and accountability with this month’s goals, whatever they may be?  If nothing else, feel free to click on over to their blogs, poke around their archives, see who they are and what they’re all about.  I’ve learned a lot from these two, and I think you should get to know them, too.

Happy diligence, all, and I’ll be back tomorrow – hopefully with good news of forward progress!

15 Responses to “Numbers”

  1. Laura Best Thursday / 3 December 09 at 4:22 pm #

    It’s good that you can set goals like that. At the moment I have far too many distractions. Wow! That really sounds like a lame excuse.Hmmmm

    I have no doubt that you’ll reach your goal…Best of luck as you go forward.

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 8:49 am #

      Thanks, Laura! Oh, man, ‘distraction’ is the word of the month, apparently! So much has been going on, what with responsibilities at home and the weekend trip I took to New Orleans! I don’t think it sounds like a lame excuse. You just finished up a major project, and are still seeing it come to life – I, on the other hand, need to finish this draft and am so close to the end of it that it only makes sense that I set a goal for myself! 🙂 Enjoy your holidays and come back at New Year’s, ready to go!

  2. Merrilee Thursday / 3 December 09 at 4:42 pm #

    You know I’m a fan of daily goals, so seeing your numbers makes me happy!

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 8:50 am #

      Haha, thanks! I know you are, and I like that we have that in common. 🙂

  3. joyofdawn Thursday / 3 December 09 at 5:15 pm #

    My Diligent December is to get a schedule worked out and stick to it. That way I get my writing and music practice in everyday, instead of whenever I decide to sit down and do it. Oh, and stay off Facebook as much as possible! 🙂

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 8:52 am #

      Good goals, a very practical place to start with goals. I think you’re being smart about this because so often, it’s easy to make really lofty goals but forget to prioritize the rest of life to accommodate them. Realistically, there are other things going on for you, which is good – fitting everything in, though, takes time and thought and discipline! What kind of music are your practicing – an instrument? Voice?

  4. kathleenwall Friday / 4 December 09 at 1:01 pm #

    I’ve never kept track of my daily word count. I think it might depress me too much! I’m with you, joyofdawn–staying off Facebook would be a really good goal!

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 8:55 am #

      Hey, Kathleen! Yeah, daily word count can be either really depressing or really motivating, depending on the day (sometimes both at once, as depressing numbers tend to make me want to work harder). For me it’s a good motivator, but I could see how, for others, it could get discouraging. It’s also not always the best indicator of progress; since I’m on the second draft, I’m refining more, which sometimes means less words but more quality.

      Anyway! How are things going for you?

  5. Linda Saturday / 5 December 09 at 9:03 am #

    Okay, I went back and stated my goal on Diligent December.

    Your love of Excel reminds me of one of my sons … a musician and math teacher. He’s always asking if I want him to create a spreadsheet for something. 🙂

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 9:00 am #

      I proudly count myself among musicians who love math who also love Excel spreadsheets!! 🙂

  6. jenniferneri Tuesday / 8 December 09 at 6:50 pm #

    thank you for the shout out – *blush blush*


  1. 8 Dec 09 | Diligent December Update « Owl and Sparrow - Tuesday / 8 December 09

    […] Dec 09 | Diligent December Update In my last post, “Numbers,” I wrote “I’ll be back […]

  2. Can She Do It? « Owl and Sparrow - Tuesday / 22 December 09

    […] call it other news, shall we? (Not bad.  Just other.)  That news?  In order to meet my Diligent December goal, I still need to write 5,121 words.  Today¹. […]

  3. 111.43% « Owl and Sparrow - Thursday / 31 December 09

    […] I felt when I typed word number 78,000 yesterday.  That’s a full 8,000 words past my original goal (hence the title of this post, as 78K is 111.43% of that goal), and I’m more than pleased. […]

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