A lot of bloggers are doing the reverb10 challenge right now (see sidebar). The challenge is to write a blog post based on a prompt every day this month. Today's word must be "wonder." I'm often game for these kinds of challenges (like NaNoWriMo), but I'm passing on this one.
My "writing challenge" for this month is different. Last year, I finally followed Paul Silvia's advice and made a writing chart in Excel. Given that I can now track such things, I'm trying now to beat last year's total of written pages for the year.
My chart is a little different from Silvia's. In this chart, the word totals for writing tasks like reports, letters of recommendation or tenure letters, manuscript reviews, grant reviews, etc. don't count; I can only enter word counts for research-related writing on articles and so on.
My chart has columns for the date, the project, the number of words I started and ended with (which gives the day's total), and a column that converts word count to pages. The "project" column is really a space for a few words about what I was doing (teaching, class prep, travel) if I wasn't working on a project, which makes it easier to track why I wasn't writing. There's a column called "Comment" that I use to show when I sent an article or delivered a paper--probably unnecessary but very satisfying.
At the bottom of the pages and words columns, of course, is the payoff: the number of pages/words for the year. I don't know if I can beat 2009's number by the end of 2010, but I'm going to give it the old college try.