100 Times

Take a look at the image below. It kind of looks like a randomly generated grid of cells. Some of them are colored, but most of them are empty. The important thing about this image is everything is random except for the number of filled in squares.

10x10 grid of squares

This image is actually the visual representation of my progress writing a novel after hitting 9,500 words. Each black square represents 500 words written, with the ultimate goal being to complete the grid and have a minimum draft of 50,000 words. I have a script where I specify the number, run the program, and then save the image.

Does this help me write? I think so. Getting the first black square on the board was incredibly motivating, and even now with only about a fifth of the goal completed, the task still feels doable. I greatly prefer this over simply watching the word count.

My belief is that any task can be broken down into less than 101 tangible steps. If I ask myself, “Can I write a book that’s 50,000 words?”, the answer is yes but with a healthy dose of doubt and intimidation.

On the other hand, I know that I can write 500 words, because I’ve done it before. If I’ve done it before, I can do it 100 times. That’s the book.