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The Beauty of Graphs

Buried in the Slushpile

If you’ve seen my Instagram at all in the last month or so, you will have noticed how fond I have become of graphs. I have graphs tracking my daily word counts. I have graphs for projects showing words left until completion. I have graphs of my graphs. (Not really, but I’m a little surprised I don’t.)

Early January Writing Graphs

Why have I gone so graph happy?

It was a natural outgrowth of my word count tracking.

You see, in an effort to motivate myself, I started keeping a written log of my daily word counts last year. It was in a page in my daily planner, and I just wrote down my overall project word count and the words I’d written for the day. It was easy enough, but other than being depressed on days with zeroes, the log didn’t really do much for me.

And then came NaNoWriMo. The site kept a word count log, but it also displayed it in a visual format. It had a single bar graph. And there was something about watching that bar get a little bigger each successive day that motivated me like nothing else had in a long time.

My Excel Word Count Log was born.

For almost three solid months now, I’ve been using my graphs, and my output is so much more than before. Even with a fifteen day break at the end of December where I wrote nothing for two weeks, I still wrote 70k words in November and December. I’ve written an additional 35k since the new year. That’s crazy productivity.

Word Count Logs and graphs aren’t for everybody, and if seeing this makes you stress out, then I suspect they aren’t for you. But if graphs make you want to write even more, go for it. The ones I made are line and bar charts in Excel.

What do you find motivating?

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