I wrote 100,000 words in six months thanks to the Magic Spreadsheet

Last April, I heard about the Magic Spreadsheet from a Mur Lafferty podcast where she talks about having written 100 days in a row. And I thought to myself, “100 days in a row! That’s impossible.”

I’d always considered myself a fairly consistent writer, but I had never in my life written 10 days in a row, let alone 100. So I had to check it out.

The Magic Spreadsheet is a GoogleDoc created by Tony Pisculli to help build writing consistency and community among the Stonecoast MFA students, but since then he has opened it up to anyone who wants to join. The Magic Spreadsheet has turned into a Facebook group and there is a rumor floating about that it might turn into a web site. The way the Magic Spreadsheet works is that you have to write 250 words or more in order for a writing day to count. The more days in a chain that you write 250+ words, the more points you get, and the levels eventually get harder so you have to write more words.

Since I started participating in the Magic Spreadsheet in April, I have seen my writing productivity spike. I’m writing more on days that I ordinarily wouldn’t because I don’t want to break my chain. Today, I have written 60 days in a row for the first time in my life. As of a few days ago, I’ve actually written 100,000 words this year. It’s pretty typical of me to write 100,000 words in a year, but this is the first time I’ve hit 100,000 before July.

I created my own private version of the Magic Spreadsheet that lets me count hours of writing time, so that spending 1 hour editing still counts as my minimum—but I’m rewarded more for writing new words.

The Magic Spreadsheet has really helped me stay productive in a way that nothing else has helped me before. It isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth checking out.

About E.S.O. Martin

E.S.O. Martin is a writer, a California native, and a graduate of SF State's Creative Writing MFA program.
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