Let’s Talk About the Writer’s Games- Group challenge!

As Round 1 of the Writer’s Games- the Individual Portion, simmers to a close tonight, the flames of friendly competition are already being fanned for Round 2- the Group Portion!

In case you blinked and missed it, over the past 7 weeks, hundreds of individual participants have written 7 short stories in 72 hrs as part of the Writer’s Games! If you can believe it, they each received personalized feedback from multiple judges, on each of their 7 short stories! Winning entries will be featured in the Writer’s Games anthology, to be published and sold later this year!

In this round, however, participants will work in Groups to conceive an idea for the weekly prompt, then plan, write, and edit their entry. An elected Team Leader will submit the entry on behalf of the team, and then the judging begins. Just as with the Individual portion, each Group will get personalized feedback on each entry from multiple judges, and the winning Team’s entry will be published in the Writer’s Workout Anthology later this year!

I know what you’re thinking, “I really want to join but I don’t have a group of my own!”. No Team? No problem! Here are three ways you can get on board:

  • Join an open team
  • Create your own team (of 7-12 members)
  • Leave it up to chance by selecting the “I NEED a team!” option. Balanced groups are carefully curated by the Writer’s Workout team based on participants’ strengths/weaknesses.  (Insider scoop: the two-time reigning Group champs, The Red Herrings, were one of these chance teams!)
Although Groups can have as many as 12 members, there is absolutely no room for spectators! Each team member is expected to pull his/her weight to produce consistent, on-theme submissions which read with one voice!
Here’s some important information to keep in mind:

The Who: The Writer’s Workout

The What: The Writer’s Games 2017- Team Portion

The When: Group Games Registration begins: July 1

Group Games begin: August 4

Anthology published: exact date tbd Fall/Winter 2017!

The How: Visit the Website or Follow the Writer’s Workout and the Writer’s Games on Twitter. Their Facebook page is very active, and the admin are incredibly responsive!

Watch this space to register from July 1! Who’s in?!

Pacemaker goes to the Bank!

A few months ago Pacemaker went to the Gym! This week, we’re going to the Bank!

If you can use Pacemaker to track how much you write or read, or even run or train, why not how much you can save or even spend as well?!

Here are 3 ways to save, let’s say, $1000 in 3 months:

With the Rising to the Challenge strategy, I’ll save anywhere between $1 on the low end, and $21 on the high end, each day for 3 months, while Oscillating will have me saving between $6 and $17 daily. With Steadily though, I’ll tuck away about $11 each day.

You can play around with it yourself, here.

But then, of course, I’m me and not someone else who’s particularly diligent at saving! So it may not be realistic for me to accept a schedule which asks me to put something aside every single day for 3 months. This isn’t impossible, but it is improbable, at least for me because, you know: birthdays, bakeries, general indiscipline… bakeries). SO here’s that plan another 3 ways, this time, more realistically for me:

This Rising to the Challenge plan, starts me off easy with very low daily saving amounts, and allows me to skip my birthday week, and weekends. The most I ever have to save on any day is $35. I think I can manage that for 3 months.


Meanwhile this Oscillating plan will allow me to once again skip saving during my birthday week and on weekends, but I only have to set aside between $9 and $25 on saving days, to reach the same 1K goal in 3 months.


On the other hand, this plan allows me to Steadily work towards my savings goal by setting aside roughly the same amount every day. Even with skipping my birthday week and weekends again, with about $17/saving day, I can still hit that 1K goal in 3 months.


As usual, Pacemaker is showing me that whether little by little, or a lot by a lot, getting to my goal is possible!

So! Do you think Pacemaker can help you create savings plans? Or maybe you’ve thought of other quantitative goals you’d like to see incorporated, or even a write-in option? Just let us know! If there’s enough interest, we just might do it!

Through the Looking Glass- We Are Outsiders

My sister and I have been working on Pacemaker for over 4 years now. What started as a very basic way to manage a Masters thesis word count has become so much more!  Over the years, diverse groups of people have discovered the tool and, through their feedback and support, Pacemaker has metamorphosed into what it is today! We’re seeing authors, translators, students, professors, hobbyists, to name a few, using the Pacemaker tool to track everything from their software coding, Duolingo lessons and school assignments, to NaNoWriMo novels, comic strips and even prayers!

However, as much as we fashioned Pacemaker from our own academic experiences, we recognize that we are outsiders to the literary professional world. We couldn’t tell you how to publish a book or how to edit a magazine article. Learning a new language? We’re no experts! We couldn’t even tell you the best way to get from point A to point B in your process. What we can do though, is show you a couple googol ways to get there!

Sometimes it feels very much like peering through the looking glass, and stepping into a fantastical world of creativity that we would never have access to on our own. Lucky for us, the natives in this world have been exceptionally friendly, and have guided us through the creative terrain to help us create a tool which is both proactive and reactive! And we see tangible possibilities for other developments on the horizon- fitness tracking, money tracking etc. We are so grateful that: Pacemaker is being molded by YOUR experience and desires. Click To Tweet

That doesn’t mean we come to the looking glass empty-handed though! Outside perspectives can be healthy, and help shine some light on certain things to which familiarity may have blinded insiders. So don’t worry, we’ll never journey with you empty-handed. We’ll strive to bring the following to the looking glass with us every time:

  • Fresh Eyes – connections with other issues, fields and domains. Together, we have backgrounds in international law, software development, public administration, communications, international relations and more.
  • Willingness to listen – we know we aren’t experts in your craft. We listen carefully and then ask “What if?” and “Why not?”. We don’t know what’s a stupid question yet 🙂 so we’ll ask it anyway.
  • Willingness to spend hours understanding everything you may take for granted in your industry – sprints, timers, publicizing your book, the importance of NaNoWriMo and camp NaNoWriMo, the translation industry, the life of a freelance literary professional etc. These are all new and fascinating to us, and we’re eager to learn more!
  • Critique! – This may make some folks uncomfortable but we hate waste, and when we see it, we’ll call it out nicely 🙂 but we will listen to learn when we are way off.

Thank you for being our looking glass guides over these years! We hope that at the end of each foray, you can say you’ve helped us help you!

Remember, User suggestions drive Pacemaker updates! So, if you see something you'd like added, say something! Click To Tweet If it’s feasible to do so, we’ll implement it right away, other suggestions take more time, and others need a bit more refining before we can commit. But we take every suggestion seriously! E-mail us, get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr (we try as much as possible to be where you are on the internet), or contact us directly using any of the options on our Contact bar at the bottom of each Pacemaker page.

 

You are not a failure! You might be setting unrealistic writing goals though.

Does this sound like you:

A. “… I tend to push myself a lot to write X amount until I’m a wreck if I don’t reach it. I try to plan but my plans fall apart…. I’m so afraid of missing out that I’ve been taking on more than I can reasonably handle for someone who is writing a full-time book load on a part-time basis.” Santino Hassell

Or how about:

B. “For several weeks I wanted to write 1k a day. I’m a fast writer when it comes to typing speed but quickly realized that I’m not a fast storyteller. Day after day I struggled [to] meet this arbitrary goal I set myself and every time I came up short. I felt unmotivated to keep going. Who wants to keep setting themselves up for failure? I have grad school to contend with, a book review blog, a job, and writing. Those things don’t always fit neatly together and I found that goals can really help or really…not.” Austine Decker

Yea… guilty!

Don’t we all do this though? We overestimate either the amount of time we have available to write OR, we greatly inflate the amount… Click To Tweet Then, when we inevitably fail to hit our inflated, unrealistic targets, we lose our confidence and motivation, even start doubting our talent, and whoosh, there go our goals, out the window! 

But what if it were not a question of whether or not you have the talent or interest, or whether or not you are disciplined enough to be productive in your field? And what if the real reason you are not reaching your writing goals is totally within your control to fix?

One of the more frequent pieces of feedback we get from our users, is that Pacemaker helps them set realistic goals. By doing so, they more effectively manage anxiety around impending deadlines and are able to stave off the frustration which can cripple the entire writing process. Our users get to see their project in many different ways (starting out strong and tapering off towards the end, peaking in the middle of their project, writing steadily throughout and more!), then they choose the one which best matches their writing style and availability! In other words, having a realistic and custom Pacemaker Plan motivates our users and helps keep them accountable, which results in them hitting those goals! We believe Pacemaker can do this for you as well!

And we don’t just stop at helping you set realistic goals. We help you adjust to surprise productivity thieves which, let’s be honest, will pop up from time to time! Because Pacemaker helps you create custom writing plans around your real schedule, you get to factor in  lost time so you get a clearer picture of how much real time you actually have to dedicate to your project. So when these things pop up- miss a day here, miss a week there- with a few clicks you can see exactly how much work and time you have left, and conceptualize different ways of getting to the finish line!

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The big take-away here- be honest with yourself about your time and availability. And there’s no need to lie to Pacemaker either, Pacemaker is your friend! If you know that you have work from 9-5, 5 days a week, with 2 hours in the gym on Monday evenings (more power to ya!), and with Saturdays just off the table for whatever reason, you know that realistically you may not be up for having a writing session those days, even though there may be time left on the clock.

Use Pacemaker to create a plan, like we’ve done below,  where you ‘Write Less’ or not at all on Mondays and Saturdays. Then it will show you clearly how that change affects the spread of the word count over the remaining time period. Don’t click Save Plan until you find a permutation that works for you! Think to yourself, “Is this really realistic for me, or does the graph just look pretty?“. Then be kind to yourself- test it out and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, no problem, tweak it until it does!

A valuable piece of fitness advice I heard years ago in response to the question, “What’s the best exercise a person can do?”, was, “The best exercise a person can do is the one they will do!” I think we can say the same for writing plans. The best one out there for you, is the one that you will actually do. Give it a try and see for yourself. Create your realistic Pacemaker Plan today!

And, oh!  Santino Hassell was able to turn A above into: “Pacemaker… WELL. This program is incredible. I don’t even know how to describe it. …I’ve been using Pacemaker since the beginning of December, and I’ve managed to hit every goal, pace myself without wanting to rip my hair out, and plan a calendar for future projects.”

As for Austine Decker, read her post to learn how she uses Pacemaker to help her set goals and stay on track!

We want to hear and publish your Pacemaker story too! So go on, create your personal Pacemaker Plan!

Pacemaker goes to the Gym!

We’ve added a few fitness variables to the Pacemaker tool, did you notice?

Now you can track not only the words/pages you write,  but you can track the distance you run or the amount of time you train!

So maybe you want to run 10k a day for 1 month– no weekends because…10K a day!:

10k a day

Or perhaps you want to do the equivalent of 3 FULL DAYS– that’s 72 hours- of exercise per month:

Or maybe you’re like us and want to try to cover 400 miles in 3 months? Check out our [over-ambitious] pacemakerplan here:

 

Yea… we’re not gonna make it  🙃 but YOU can with your very own fitness pacemakerplan!

We’ve added just a few variables to begin with but we are more than open to adding more depending on interest. So, what do you think? Adapt Pacemaker to include fitness goals… do we dare?