Star Stickers: The Force-Myself-to-do-Things Awakens


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I started a blog and then vanished into the mysterious depths of cyberspace. A New Order arose in my absence…namely, my urge to try Victoria Schwab’s star-sticker calendar method of tracking productivity. To ensure at least one blog post a week, I decided to do a check-in of this star-sticker calendar every seven days.

This is that check-in.

*insert Star Wars theme here*


Calendar courtesy of Easter Seals, where I interned last semester

I feel like Week 1 of January went well, though I may simply need to tweak my key a bit.


  1. Gold – 1 hr revision (WEEK TOTAL: 5 hrs)
  2. Blue – draft 500 new words (WEEK TOTAL: 6,000 words)
  3. Green – read 100 pages (WEEK TOTAL: 1,200 pages)
  4. Red – 1/2 hr studying Japanese in the super-casual, inefficient, self-guided way I am learning it (WEEK TOTAL: 6 hrs)
  5. Silver – blog post (WEEK TOTAL: 1)
  6. NOT PICTURED – I’m tracking exercise and adult-like responsibilities in a separate baby-sized calendar also courtesy of Easter Seals. (WEEK TOTAL FOR EXERCISE: 5 times, which is good because I’ve neglected that recently).

Points of Note:

  • The circled green stars are for when I finished reading a book (though I may tweak that tracking method later). This week’s green stars represent THE WALLS AROUND US, by Nova Ren Suma, (Riveting! Creepy! Relevant to my writing interests!). SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS, stories selected by Genevieve Tucholke, (Also creepy! Loved almost all of the stories, by some great authors!). And ILLUMINAE, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Probably my favorite of the week. I love stories crafted from pieced-together documents, and I respect a story that can truly surprise me, since I have a tendency to guess twists often). I’d recommend them all.
  • The cluster of impressive blue stars was a new short story I whipped out on a whim. My blue stars are currently worth 500 new words drafted, but I’m considering bumping them up to 1,000 words, because I remembered that I’m a fast, wordy drafter. Then again, I like impressive clusters of drafting stars.
  • The little scrappy garbage pieces stuck on in the last few days represent one-and-done tasks I finally got around to after putting them off for ages. Not sure if I’ll continue doing that, but I like the idea of a way to track all the little things I accomplish while procrastinating my big tasks. If I do keep it, I’m thinking gold squares will represent long-overdue, open-ended things. Blue is for when I promptly get something done right after adding it to my To Do list. And Red blips are for tasks I get done when pressed right up against a deadline. Hopefully, I will not get too many red blips.
  • SOUNDTRACK OF THE WEEK: Flipping between random Japanese music and my film score playlist.
  • Go-to method of procrastination: Playing 999 and Undertale as Lil Bro tries to get me into videogames.

In summary, this mixture of visible progress and public shaming seems to be highly effective. The one area I’ve completely neglected this week is my job search, which I really need to designate a sticker for.

If you’ve got any questions about my process or my week in review, feel free to comment. Ditto with thoughts on the books I’ve been reading, the X-Files I’ve been watching, or anything else that comes to mind.

Praise is welcome, as are inspiringly derisive comments about how I really could be revising more.

Thanks for reading, and here’s hoping this next week will be productive for all of us.

May the force be with you.



3 thoughts on “Star Stickers: The Force-Myself-to-do-Things Awakens

  1. alexyuschik January 8, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Dude, I love the sticker method! 🙂 One useful thing about doing 1 sticker = 1 hour of revisions is that I can also mark on the calendar when a round of revisions began and total up how many hours it took me to complete it. That has been insanely helpful with estimating how long a dev edit/line edit will take me and planning ahead. Anyway, good luck moving forward!

    • Allison Mulder January 8, 2016 / 8:44 pm

      That’s a really great point! I might get thrown off a bit from counting some short story revisions, but if I’m recapping week by week anyway, maybe I’ll find a way to keep straight what’s what… Thanks for the tip!

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