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Tip Tuesday #93

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Today's fantastic tip was sent in by K.D. Lum who blogs at Writtled. Please give her a visit (and follow!) after you're done reading here. Here's K.D.:

One major writing tip that I have heard of and used is the notion of writing lists, either daily or weekly, in order for one to reach his or her writing goals. I love this as a tip. It allows you to set up attainable goals, and of course, its main power lies in the glorious ability to pen a wicked line through those things you’ve gotten done. My tip is to take the list power and amplify it by writing down what you have already done, instead of just what you planned on doing.

Instead of writing lists of what you want to do, at the end of each day, write a list of what you have done. You’ll still feel accomplished because you get to write down everything you managed in one day. (P.S. I keep my “log” in an unlined book dedicated for these lists).The trick to making this work for writing is to write how much you have written at the end of each day, either in words or pages. If you didn’t write anything, have yourself write down “I didn’t write anything today.” Or, you can what I do and really stick it to yourself by writing “NO WRITING DONE” for that day’s log. If you diligently keep a log every day (which is how it’ll be the most effective), eventually, that’ll wear your nerves, let me tell you.

You’ll want to be able to write down that you’ve written something, because writing down every day that you written a big huge amount of zippity doesn’t feel so dandy. So for all you list-ers out there, try the “end of the day” list and see if it’ll help you the same way it helped me!

- K.D. Lum


  1. Great tip K.D. I'm really trying to focus on goals to keep me on track. I'll have to try this to see if it makes me more productive. Thanks.

  2. Simple but effective advice! I love lists... which is why I'm a plotter and rely on outlines so much. :)

  3. Ooh, I like this idea, I'll have to try it. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Lists are such a simple, but powerful motivational tool. I always get more done when I use a list. And I love to put down "done" things too. Thanks for the reminder of this great tool!

  5. I've never been a list writer (except for groceries), but I love your idea of writing down what you've done when the day is finished.

  6. Thanks, K.D! I need to try this in my daily blog. Write out (in the mornings) my to do list and in the evenings, add what I accomplished. Maybe that will help me see where my time's going, too. Sigh.

  7. What a great idea K.D. Instead of beating ourselves up for what we didn't get done, congratulating ourselves on what we did accomplish. I'll give it a try today!

    Thanks. Sheryl

  8. I like this idea much better than setting a goal to reach. As long as you get something done, I think the day's been used well. No need to stress because you were 200 words short on your goal--you still wrote!

  9. Thanks so much for having me! I love this site so it's really great that I could help contribute to it. Using this tip has really helped me with my writing goals because I love getting to see how much I progress day to day. Hope it helps you all too!

  10. That sounds like a useful approach to list making, writing down what you accomplished in your writing each day.

  11. Writing down your goals is called "being definite with the infinite."
    Make sure that your goals are at least 50% believable to you.
    "I am going to write 5,000 works a day" is probably not a believable goal. "I'm going to write at least 500 works a day" well that could be do-able.

  12. That is an interesting way to list. I see the value in it. It could keep you from kicking yourself around too much for what you haven't accomplished.

    I train for triathlons and my list is the training schedule I design. Sure, I miss workouts but have devised a percentage calculation to tell me how I consistent and true to my plan I have been that week. Most often I find I did better than I had thought.

  13. What a simple and powerful idea!

  14. I already do this and find it very effective. I took it a step further, though and made a weekly calendar with Excel. Each day is its own column, with 7 columns across and 8 1/2 X 11 sheet. When I'm done with the week I tuck the sheet away in a file. This way if I wonder when I sent something off, or finished a particular chapter, or whatever, I can look back through my file. I also tend to scribble important notes on these calendars, because I know I'm not going to throw them away.

  15. This really does work. I use this positive power boost in when wearing all my hats: writer, gardener, herder of squirrel children and the person who is supposed to keep the house tame. The list of accomplishments keeps me doing forward because I'm a list fiend and I want to add more things to the list.