Magic Spreadsheet

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 Under: Productivity Pro

Ok, so it’s been a while, too long really, and, as always, I have some good excuses that I’m not going to share because, as my old man always said, ‘Excuses just aren’t good enough.’ I’d call them reasons, but, really, reasons are the same as excuses when you’re apologising.

What I’d like to talk about today is the Magic Spreadsheet!

This is a Google-doc created by Tony Pisculli (Travis Gramkowski Senzaki added the live leader board). It’s NOT a Wiki. It is, however, maintained by the efforts of Tony, Travis, Mark Lindberg, and myself. Tony is working on a website version because there are now so many people on the Spreadsheet that it keeps threatening to overload. 

The Magic Spreadsheet, simply, is just a word-count tracker. You put in your numbers and it counts them up for you. Where the magic comes in is in the gamification aspects that Tony added.

The purpose of the MS is to encourage its users to write a minimum of 250 words every day. That doesn’t seem like much, and it isn’t, but if you do 250 words a day you’ll have a 50k word novel in less than a year. In order to encourage you to write those 250 words, the MS gives you cumulative points for every day you write, so if you write 250 words for 50 days on the 50th day you’ll get 50 points. But wait, there’s more! There are also bonus points for writing more words. You get an extra point for doing 500 words, another for getting 1000, and another for getting 2000. 

There are also level achievements that are reached by getting points which then unlock the ability to get even more points, but at the price of a raised ‘Level Minimum’. At Level 2, to keep the bonus points, you need to write 300 words a day, at Level 3 it’s 350, at Level 4 it’s 400 and so on. This is connected to the consistency – that you have continued to maintain the minimum for your level every day. If you are at level 3 and only do 250 words, you will max out at 30 points instead of the 100+ possible. Tony arranged it so that if you maintain the minimum 250 words a day, you’ll level up about every 30 days. You can do this quicker, of course, by writing above the minimum. But it really only works if you write every day.

I’ve been using it since mid January, I achieved my 100th link last week (each day is a ‘link’ in your ‘chain’ of daily writing). I have also written close to 200k words in those 100 days at an average of just over 1800 words a day. I don’t think I’ve ever written that much that consistently ever before, and that is the magic of the spreadsheet.

The Magic is enhanced by the Facebook and Google+ communities that have grown up around it. These are full of great people, all writers, all supporting and encouraging each other. And all looking forward to the day the Magic Cricket, Tony’s web-site version, goes live.

In : Productivity Pro 


Tags: "magic spreadsheet" writing productivity "tony pisculli" "magic cricket" 
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Meet the scribbler


I'm a writer, editor, indie publisher, and dedicated Magic Spreadsheet user. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, I've been living in Japan since 1995. I've had a life-long interest in writing and in speculative fiction. My first book was published in mid-2014.
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