After spending about 45 minutes looking through past spreadsheets, I finally found my best month of writing since I started in 2012. Well, actually, I found two months that might qualify, but the second has an asterisk.
What do I plan to do with this information? Set some goals for August that will keep me moving in the right direction.
What’s My Best Month for Writing?
When I talk about “writing,” I’m referring to blogs, client content, books, short stories, and YouTube scripts. That’s because each of these elements propels my career in some form or another.
I don’t count things like email, social media posts, or other bits.
From a productivity standpoint, my best month was May of 2019. I had a lot of things going on back then and cranked out 79,360 words total.
But then there is also the challenge I did last year where I wrote 90 blog posts in 30 days. I don’t know if I can really count that as it was more focused on a specific challenge and not really part of my normal day-to-day routine.
To put it into perspective, though, I wrote 121,388 words in September of 2021.
In this case, I’m only going to focus on the 2019 total. That’s because it was more conducive to my usual workload.
What Kind of Challenges Will I Create?
I am always up for challenging myself. Though, I don’t know if I could do another 121,000 words in a month. At least not with my current primary job. I am mostly an editor and researcher nowadays.
Still, I like to push the envelope to see just what I can handle in any given month. So, what does this mean for setting up challenges?
Always Working on Time Management
First of all, I am constantly working on my time management skills. If I can perfect my normal daily routine, everything else will easily fall into place.
Since I started working from home full-time in 2013, my workload has changed multitudes of times. Every time I feel like I have a good working schedule, a client throws a new project my way that really screws things up.
Also, lately, I’ve been spending way too much time on other random things that don’t pertain to my career paths. Not to mention all of the mental issues I’ve had with losing so many of my family over the past few years.
With all of this said, working on time management is always a primary goal for any given challenge. As I said, using my time more efficiently in the day leads to other projects getting done in a timely manner.
Needing 3,451 Words Per Workday
With all of the things I have going on, there should be no reason why I can’t surpass my best month in terms of writing. Of course, clients come first, whether I get to write or not. After all, they’re paying the bills.
Still, I do tend to waste a bit more time than I’d like.
The things that will help me reach these numbers include:
- 17 blog posts spread across my three major blogs; CrossingColorado.com, WriterSanctuary.com, and ColoradoPlays.com.
- 8 videos uploaded to YouTube. Since I write the scripts for these, I’m counting them because they’re working to move the channels forward.
- At least 20,000 words towards Kingmaker, my next book. I would love to write more, but I seriously have a lot on my plate.
- Focusing on improving time management. If I can focus on my work instead of getting sidetracked, I should be able to spend more time writing.
Perhaps one of the biggest problems I have is the fact that a large chunk of my day is spent as an editor. I don’t do much writing today for my primary client as I manage the content team.
Nonetheless, I am confident I can accomplish my August goals…as long as I put in maximum effort.
Monitoring the Monthly Estimate
I love my spreadsheet. It’s a bit more elaborate than what you really need, but it will calculate estimations for weeks, months, and the entire year. It’s how I can keep myself aware of where I am in terms of writing goals.
Right now, I have the best month yet broken down in what I need to write per day and for the entire month. I also have a field that shows the difference in bold red numbers if I’m not writing enough to surpass those goals.
Essentially, it takes what I do on average throughout the month and subtracts it from what I need. Then, I plug in actual numbers each day, which increases the accuracy of the spreadsheet as I continue to work throughout the month.
In any case, I’m keeping a close eye on what I need to do and work every day to make sure those numbers stay “green.”
Ahhh…the power of a spreadsheet. What can I say, I love data!
Why Do Writing Challenges Matter?
I’m a big fan of creating challenges for a myriad of reasons. That’s because challenges are meant to push you to accomplish things that you might perceive to be out of your reach.
Even if you fail at a challenge, what you’ll learn about yourself in the process can be instrumental in helping you succeed the next time around.
For example, last September, I challenged myself to write a blog post every day for three separate websites. By the end, I wrote 90 blog posts in 30 days while racking up more than 121,000 words.
Now, while I do feel accomplished that I was able to handle it all while maintaining my client work, it did burn me down quite a bit. In fact, it did quite the number on me from both a mental and physical aspect.
That’s because the experience skyrocketed my levels of stress. What did I learn from the ordeal? That I can, indeed, push out a lot of content every day and that doing it again would probably kill me.
I’m still managing heart palpitations, which didn’t start until I was nearing the end of that challenge.
I’m not saying that you need to push yourself to the extremes. However, challenging yourself to become better than you are right now is always good from the perspective of self-improvement.
You’ll never know what you can truly handle until you put in the effort to find yourself. And I bet that you haven’t even come close to your full potential.
What Kind of Challenges Can You Make?
Challenges can come in all forms, really. It all boils down to what you want to accomplish versus what you can do today. As long as you’re pushing yourself a bit harder to accomplish those challenges, that’s all that really matters.
Since I keep track of everything I do in my spreadsheet, I can look back and create challenges from a slew of data points. However, the deep dive I’ve done into the numbers isn’t what makes me successful.
What makes me successful is that I am constantly working to improve myself and my abilities. Even if it’s just by one word, it’s still a victory.
If you wrote 500 words yesterday, challenge yourself to write 501 today. This is how you build momentum; by overcoming each goal while aiming for greater and greater numbers.
In that case, you could even do something like increasing percentage points. Let’s say you wrote 500 words yesterday and want to increase your abilities by 10%. That means your goal for tomorrow is 550 words. The day after that, it would be 605.
Using percentages is a great way to build momentum. Though, you will hit your cap much quicker. Still, it’s not a bad way to go about setting up a challenge.
Making August 2022 the Month to Beat
There’s no doubt that I have my work cut out for me. And although it might sound like a lot to some people, it’s actually something I can accomplish as long as I stay the course.
The best part is that this is something I can do without burning myself out. And that’s key when setting up your own challenges. Aim for doing something more but not at the expense of your mental state.
In any case, August of 2022 is going to be the month to beat in the future.