Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Nanowrimo 2018 - day 5

Well, day 5 started with noticing I spelt Nanowrimo wrong in the heading of the post for day 3. A true pro, I tell you.
Word count: 1849
4theWords is actually working. I’m getting better at finding things. There is definitely something buggy about the ‘streaks’ - the markings when you write every day. It says I do a one day streak each day. *frowns*
One of the things that works with attempting any large task is to break it down into smaller tasks. I remember telling someone that 1670 words for one day of Nanowrimo was just three (and a bit) lots of 500 words. Oh, they said, I can do 500 words. Right. Did you see the brain shift there from ‘I can’t do that’ to ‘that’s doable’?
And I think I know why this works. I saw a YouTube video by Will Schoder on the Zeigarnik Effect discovered by Bluma Zeigarnik. [you go, girl]
In psychology, the Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.
Unfinished tasks and open loops occupy our brains. Hemingway famously used to stop writing mid-sentence so that the next time he started he knew how to finish that sentence. And then he’d write the next sentence, rather than sit there and stare at the page. That unfinished sentence was an open loop.
So each time you defeat a small monster in a wordy battle, you get a closed loop. Job’s done, as a small peon would say. And there are some monster challenges that are just 50 words. The app also tempts you to do quests and challenge larger monsters with bigger word counts.
Blame the Zeigarnik Effect.
I guess it also explains why all that cramming you do before an exam falls right out of your head afterwards. You set that loop to be ‘just for the exam’, not ‘remember for life’.
Once you know what works for you, you can use it!
I’m using this blog diary the same way. I have challenged myself to sit down and write this, which is at least some words on the page, and it makes it oddly less challenging to switch tasks. I’m at my keyboard, I just need to tab over there.
Onward! For the words!

Will Schoder - Why it's so hard to leave things incomplete

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