Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dark Book: Day 9, Word 2003 and Motivation

word count: 2,872

Hory cow. I knocked out an entire chapter, all those words, in under two hours yesterday. I had a creative binge! Dunno what it was, something just clicked, but I think this might be my record. And I don't even want to know how many errors and typos I'm going to be fixing in draft 2. But now is not the time for such evil thoughts!

I have something else much more interesting to talk about. Microsoft Word. Again, and this time I like it. It's really amazing how you can use a program for years and suddenly learn something new and exciting about it. I got my first computer in 8th grade, I think, and I've been using Word/Works since then. I have Office 2003 at work, which is where I discovered this interesting tidbit.

Apparently, Word 2003 tracks the total time you've spent on a document. Now, I don't know the exactly detials, but it appears to track this based on the time the document is open - so if you're sitting there staring at a wall and the doc is open, the clock is counting up. I'm not sure if it takes into account if you have the window selected or not. If I'm wrong about this and anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.

Here's the dialogue box:

This is properties box, but when you access this inside the word doc (as opposed to right clicking on the thumbnail or short cut of a saved file) it adds the tab "statistics." As you can see in the image above, it includes a line names "total editing time."Neat huh? Or not neat, if you don't want to know how long it took you to write your doc...

To access it, go to File > Properties on the task bar on your open file.

Personally, I think this is super cool. Since NaNoWriMo 2008, I've been hyper aware of the time I actually spend writing and being productive vs. just thinking about maybe writing later. Having to output 1,600 words per day for the month of November really showed me how little work it is(barring severe writer's block) to produce this. Since then, I've been working hard to stay on track and make sure I'm dedicating time to writing as often as possible.

I'm lucky that I type fast. On the downside, I never had formal typing lessons and the faster I type the more typos and other errors I make. So, it's good and bad. In most cases, in a good writing mood, I can write 900-1400 words per hour. So, an hour and a half a day, more or less, and I've hit 1,600 words for sure. When do I not have an hour in the day? Never. Sure, I spend time playing video games and watching movies, but there's always room in the day for writing.

The publishing industry is getting tougher, we all know that. And I'm not getting younger. All of this is why I've gotten back on a hard writing schedule after taking a few months to edit. And, considering all the stories in my head, I'm way behind. ;) At least I won't run out of ideas in the near future.

Now back to weaving around writing roadblocks and dodging tempting distractions. Oh, and doing work, of course. Bills, bills, bills, yo!


Tara Maya said...

Oh, wow, I didn't know that about Word. I signed up for NaNoEdMo this month, which is supposed to help me keep track of how long I spend editing, but I have to enter the hours and minutes myself. Dude, if I knew that, would I need your help?! Argh. Ok, fine, I'll keep track of it myself...(grumble, grumble).

So if Word really can keep track for me... oh how wonderful... but I need to find out if just having the file open counts, because I often leave about ten files open at once.

Jenn Nixon said...

CONGRATS on the word count!!

The Screaming Guppy said...

Yea, I was thinking I might need to do some testing. I'll play around with it today and see if I can get more detials. I did a google search, but all I found was tips on how to use it, vs the nitty gritty on how it works exactly. I'll let you know what I find out.

The Screaming Guppy said...

Thanks Jenn! :)

The Screaming Guppy said...

Hm. Just made a new doc, and left it open while I used other windows. Apparently, it counts the time as long as the doc is open, even if you aren't activly using it. Looks like for this to be accurate, you have to close it when you aren't using it.