Friday, October 23, 2009

Every Little Bit Helps

I was reading someone's Facebook posts recently about how they're doing with this 100 word a day challenge. I guess the idea is to sit down and write at least a hundred words a day for a set period of time I'm not sure of. At first, it confused me. 100 words? That's two paragraphs. When I'm doing NaNo, my daily goal is 2000 words. I couldn't really fathom how 100 words a day would get you anywhere.

Until I applied it to housekeeping. I am not the world's greatest housekeeper. That, in fact, is my mother, so I will never wear that crown and I'm fully aware of it. Before my mother went to some intense therapy to determine why she was so obsessed with controlling her environment, she used to mop the ceilings. True stuff, but I digress... I don't like to clean. There are eighty other things I can do with my time. Unfortunately, I live with a packrat and four fur-babies that shed like crazy. When I lived alone, my cleaning habits were adequate because I just sort of cleaned up after myself as I went along.

It is no longer enough. I tried having a cleaning service come in, but I found I was cleaning up all the clutter (the real issue) before the cleaning lady came. Once all the clutter is gone, the cleaning is no big deal and certainly not worth what I was paying. I'm also kinda cheap, if I haven't mentioned that before. For that amount of money, I could pay my mother to come over and get my ceilings mopped as a bonus.

So (and this is where it loops back to the point) I've started my own cleaning version of 100 words a day. Instead of tearing the house down all at once, I'm going to clean one thing every day. I keep up with the kitchen out of necessity, but aside from that - one thing. Last night I cleaned all three toilets. The night before I swiffered up all the hard woods and linoleum. Tonight, I think I'll vacuum upstairs. Nothing earth shattering here, but its something. And a couple times, once I get started, I do a little more than I planned - maybe cleaning the sink or washing towels while I'm scrubbing toilets. A little something every night and maybe I won't feel like the authorities are going to declare my house a SuperFund site.

Now the 100 words a day makes more sense. There's progress being made and sometimes sitting down to write, even just a little, is the hardest part. It helps build the writing habit, and if you're lucky, maybe you end up writing not just 100 words, but 200 or 500 or even 2000 if you get on a roll.

Have you ever done a writing challenge like this or broken up your cleaning to get more done? Have you been able to stick with it for long?


Problem Child said...

All forward progress is good progress--

And my house is a nasty wreck right now. If the health dept comes by, they will shut me down and take AC away.

Playground Monitor said...

I did NaNoWriMo last year and achieved the goal of 50K words in 30 days, but it seriously kicked my butt. I got no housework done and we had Thanksgiving dinner from Publix.

I'd love to do NaNo again next month but unless I can brainstorm a book over the weekend, I just don't think it's gonna happen, and writing 50K in grocery lists isn't acceptable.

With housework, I try to do a little something every day. And since it's just me now, it should be easier -- at least once I get the boxes unpacked the things put away.

Christine said...

SM-I used 100 words a day a little differently through the holidays. I used an "hour a day." It really helped me keep my head in the MS during busy times. Sometimes I did more time, sometimes none. But overall, I managed to get a lot done and the MS I entered into the GH last year was fully revised by the third week in Jan.

I use the timer on my microwave. I use it for one hour segments for cleaning and writing.

Great idea to clean one thing at a time!

LeaannS said...

Angel and I have been participating in this Novel Push Initiative with Kait Nolan online, kind of a mini-Nano where your goal is 250 or 350 words a day. What I've noticed is that most of the participants (us included) actually write more than that each day, but even if you just stick to the lowest level (250), that's 1000 words in four days. So yeah, every little bit adds up, but if you get your butt in the chair, you usually find yourself going a bit beyond what was expected (kind of like the cleaning thing :)).

Kait also does this thing called microburst writing, where she writes for five minutes per hour while at work to get her daily word goal in. It works for me because I have short breaks between essays when I work, so I work, write five minutes, work again, write five minutes, and so on until my shift is over. You would be surprised how it stacks up at the end of the day.

Now if only I could get myself in gear to apply that to cleaning...

word ver:eukings
Anybody ever notice how these words would make great paranormal language and beings? A euking -- hmmm, could that be some type of multi-limbed alien?

Instigator said...

I'm too tired this morning to even think about cleaning...or writing. I don't know what it is about the rain but it always puts me to sleep.


PM's Mother said...

As I've said before..."I hate housework!"

Some years back I tried to get organized with . This program is supposed to get you organized--break your housework into zones, etc. It was a great program if you followed it but the sight regurgitated so many emails that if you read all of them you did not have time to do the housework.

I don't know how you could apply this to writing, but if you like to do something you will find the time to do it; which is why I never found the time to do housework.

Angel said...

I'm doing pretty well on the challenge LeaAnn mentioned. Although my numbers for this weekend are dropping to 0, since we'll be on the retreat. I think it will be worth it.

I've tried to apply this to cleaning, in the sense of doing 1 thing per day. Cleaning bathrooms, dusting, etc. Unfortunately, I am easily distracted unless I put it on my To Do list. Then I forget. Or maybe that's deliberate. :)


Liza said...

I like the idea of cleaning a little each day. Right now my house is a pit, and it will stay that way for a while. I'm going out of town for the weekend and then travel for 3 days next week for work. Looks like when I get back I'll do one big clean and then try a little each day to keep it clean.

Belle said...

My version of the little-bit-at-a-time when it comes to writing is a commitment to sit down for half an hour and write. In the whole scheme of things, half an hour sounds doable to me, while an hour just doesn't get me sitting before the keyboard at all. It's like the difference between what seems like a blip of time and, well, a whole hour (at least, that's the way it feels to my brain for some reason). Luckily, I'm a fast writer, so half an hour usually nets me 1000 words. Although, with Nano, this means I'll have to do the hour thing!

As for cleaning, my secret weapon is my iPod and audiobooks. I've come to look on kitchen cleanup as my reading time these days. I do it all slowly, as slowly as I can - because it means more time with the audiobook without any of the family bugging me because I am, after all, cleaning! - and yet, even doing it slowly, it only takes me about half an hour to get it moderately clean. And there's that half hour thing again. Except, without an audiobook, half an hour of cleaning feels far too long to me.