Moonlight Pegasus Writing Challenge: Quantified Self

Embarrassingly, I fell off the blogging wagon even when I kept saying I would properly log every single day. There are reasonssss but ultimately, it was my bad for not following up. HERE, though, is a proper follow up with pretty charts!

While I was too lazy to log into WordPress regularly, despite wonderful correspondence with Sumire, I did account for writing in an excel spreadsheet. While writing well is so much more than mere word count, I used word count as an easy way to track my progress. Here is what I discovered.

How was word count by day of the week? I do not work well on the weekends. Mondays are okay (but generally an effect of slacking off on the weekend). I find my stride mid-week. 

Did word count increase over the duration of the challenge? Sadly, no, word count did not progressively increase the longer I wrote. Some days I wrote massive amounts but others, like, 1 sentence. What was nice to see, though, was I started getting comfortable with writing in general and it began to feel more of a regular habit. For example, I stopped noting where I wrote because it became habitual to set off to the library at a certain time of day. And speaking of time of day…

Word count by hour is probably not represented best by this choice of graph so let me explain a bit more. I wrote nothing in the morning (though that is mostly a problem of circumstance than brain power). I had a major dip in productivity between 2pm and 4pm. Things picked up again in the evening (usually all piled in right around 4pm-5pm or late at night). Again, my writing schedule is mostly shaped by outside resposibilities but it was interesting to see a clear dead zone that paralleled my natural afternoon sleepiness.

word count time
0 10 am – 12 pm
2408 12 pm – 2pm
1288 2 pm – 4pm
3010 4 pm – 11:59 pm

Which brings me to this next interesting series. There is an interesting free app called Moo-Q that I first read about on Lifehacker. It claims to log your cognitive function throughout the day so you can track when you’re most productive and alert.

Positive and Negative Affect address your mood (self reported). Your emotions can impact how alert, energetic, confident, and active you feel.

Short term memory is how your brain quickly holds onto and then releases (either forgetting or passing into long term memory) bits of information. This, like and the following terms, are assessed by brain games on the app.

Processing speed is your cognitive efficiency. They explain it is like the horsepower of your car: how well you perform easy tasks.

Working memory is how your brain continuously does mental operations, combining information from your short term memory with new input.

What did I learn? My brain is most efficient and can work well when I’m in a great mood — except at the end of the day when I’m just too tired.

The afternoon is one slow decline and I have to scramble to get things done before 2pm, which is when my mood, brain processing and working memory all drop. Everything creeps back up in the late afternoon, except for my mood (negative affect is peak at 5pm). All of this is clearly apparent in my word count (write well between 12pm-2pm but am dead after that). Also, I am in a lovely mood at 6pm but do NOT work. It is only closer to 8pm and later that I feel alert again (again, seen in my writing log).

I’ve never had the opportunity to really write in the morning but seeing how well I process these Moo-Q tests around 10am, it would be interesting to see how writing would fit in that time.


One thought on “Moonlight Pegasus Writing Challenge: Quantified Self

  1. Sumire says:

    Interesting insights and statistics! Ugh, I wrote exactly once while I was in Japan which was better than nothing at all but still… I want to get back in the habit again though because, little as I wrote some days, there’s a big difference between saying, “I’m working on a novel,” and “I have a novel I started.”

    Liked by 1 person

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