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Go Figure! July 26, 2010

Posted by laurenrobbins6 in writing.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

   We might not realize it, but numbers rule our lives. Whether it’s creating a budget, calculating discounts, or even looking at the time, we inevitably incorporate them into our day (a little like the book Math Curse by Jon Scieszka). But what, might you ask, does this have to do with creative writing?

Well, recently, I’ve been putting a little star on my calendar for every day that I excercise. Simple enough. Theoretically, if I excercise frequently, my calendar will be awash with little stars giving me the elementary-school satisfaction of a job well done. But I wasn’t quite sure if this was enough to motivate me.  What if I created a chart tracking my weekly progress? The possibilities for calculation and reward whirred in my head. Because it always pays to do the numbers. Instead of vaguely saying “Well, I jogged a lot this month,” isn’t it more satisfying to say “This month, I went jogging, on average, 4 days a week”?

This inevitably reminds me of NaNoWriMo (which I am eagerly awaiting). Chris Baty has ingeniously equiped writers who sign up with a word count bar graph. In November, a writer has their goals and graphs practically handed to them. And when your word count goes up, even by a little, your graph does too! But why does this have to be limited to November? Why can’t writers use a tool like this all year long?

Writers need excercise too–as far as their writing skills are concerned. However, tracking every word might be the kind of pressure-cooker extreme only to be used in November. If someone were to, say, track how often they fit an hour or half-hour of writing into their daily schedule, they might find they write more instead of writing whenever the mood hits them. 

Because the only magic pill you can take to improve your writing is a long-term goal coated with layers of practice. And surprisingly, to make this pill less bitter, it might be nice to have a chaser of graphs, stars, and numbers.



1. Abby R. - July 26, 2010

A brilliant obeservation–math is everwhere! Even where we least expect it or notice it. And a huge declaration like “exercise more” or “clean the entire house” can be broken down into managable undaunting pieces–all the easier to be accomplished and translated into praise and reward! Your writing style is whimsical, witty, clever, and comforting–like having a conversation with a friend. A truly wonderful piece of writing to look forward to!

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