According to Scrivener, the nifty book-writing software I’m using, as of this morning I have written about 42,000 words for my office fitness book manuscript (that’s a screen capture of Scrivener’s current word count above). I’m guessing that about 15% of these words are notes to myself and other meta-info that won’t actually make it into the final manuscript. Assuming that that trend holds and that I am indeed about 60-70% done with the first draft, as I think, then we’re looking at a book in the 50,000- to 60,000-word range, about what I was projecting when I started writing in earnest about 6 months ago.
My office fitness book has three main parts:
- Introduction with chapters that set out the rationale for the book and show how to develop good habits.
- Physical fitness in the office: the importance of working routine movement into your work day, cultivating good posture, learning guerrilla ergonomics self-assessment skills, and exercise regimens to counteract office-work patterns.
- Self-care for office workers: nutrition, stress management, sleep hygiene, vision, and other self-care topics.
I’ve been making steady progress all along, but my productivity really took off when I adopted Jerry Senfield’s “don’t break the chain” methodology. Basically, you set a daily goal and then track it and never break it. Seinfeld used a red marker on a paper calendar to track his chain. I use an app called Obstino, which lets you get the same kinesthetic satisfaction as writing on a calendar by sliding your finger across your iPhone screen (this interace was a surprisingly big hit when I demoed the app at the Seattle Quantified Self meetup recently).
I learned about not breaking the chain over the long July 4th weekend and have written at least 500 words every morning every work day ever since. I’m up over 40 work days now with a nice satisfying X marked on my iPhone. If I keep this up, I should have a first-draft manuscript well before Thanksgiving and a book in hand by early next year.
Wish me luck.