Sunday, February 21, 2021

Tally On, Dear Writer

by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

I admit I’m an overachieving planner and organizer. I’m a queen list maker—even making lists of my lists. It’s probably more accurate to say I’m a big-dreamer or I’m unaware my lists are longer than a 24/7 schedule would allow to be completed. It could be said I’m a great example of someone desperately needing a recovery program for it. At times it has consumed me. 

Often my lists have taunted me and caused me a bit of grief. Word counts not made, newsletters not done, posts not uploaded—all reasons I couldn’t put that coveted checkmark on the side of my list. Sometimes the list stares back at me as if to say, “See, you can’t do … All. The. Things.” 

But due to that big thing that took over 2020, you know the one, I reassessed how I could plan my days and be able to see progress without the glaring examples of what I didn’t accomplish. I started doing tally marks. At the beginning of each week in my planner, I have a dedicated spot to mark tallies to better see the successes that have come. 

That’s also where I look at the end of the week before I plan for the next week. I can see where the tally marks added up and it drove me to work harder on those lines that were a little weak. The topics are generic enough there’s truly an easy way to see success. Instead of my big projects, I see quick results. I see success in the little things that happened during the week on my writing journey.

Here’s an example of some of my topics:

  • I wrote, yay!
  • I engaged in my Social Media.
  • I read something to learn a new tip for writing.
  • I encouraged another writer on their Social Media.
  • I created a new graphic and saved it for an upcoming post.
  • I cleaned out emails. 
  • I encouraged a writer to continue the work in their calling.

As you can see by the list above, there is great opportunity to make those tally marks add up. In the past, I would write on my planner/checklist something like: write 1000 words each day. During certain times it wasn’t always possible to write 1000 words every day. I may have written 5,000, but three days in a row I wasn’t home. This left a line on my checklist without a check mark, looking as if I hadn’t been productive. 

I don’t know about you, but when I see those empty spots on my checklist, I go the wrong direction in my thinking. Those types of thoughts come too quick on how I can’t do this writing gig and I should let it go. Instead, by focusing on those smaller, achievable goals and looking at the amount of tally marks, it’s ramping up my stick-to-itive-ness. And I need that, especially this year.

In last month’s post, I spoke about giving oneself grace. This example of tally marks has been a great way for me to allow that to happen. I’m less likely to feel defeated and can rejoice in even the small victories, which add up to large successes when looked at together. It has been a great boost to my writing and an encouragement to me when I’m reaching out to other writers who might be feeling the lows in their writing journey as well. 

My prayer for you, dear writer, is that you keep your tally marks continually full and you also look for ways to help other writers add tally marks to their life as well. 

Tally on!


You’ll find Tammy using humor and wit to bring joy and hope to every aspect in life. She’s gone from down and defeated from a past filled with bullying and criticism from family to living a Tickled Pink life as she believes there is always a giggle wanting to come out! All because of HIM.

She’s the Social Media Coordinator for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. President of ACFW Upstate SC, Past-President and current member of Word Weavers Upstate SC and Past-President of Cross N Pens Writers Group. She’s a member of My Book Therapy/Novel Academy. A writing team member for The Write Conversation, contributor for the Learn How to Write a Novel Blog and others. Published in the Divine Moments Compilation Book—Cool-inary Moments.

She’s married to her college sweetheart Larry, a mom to their grown daughter, Kristen and excited to add a son-in-law in 2021. Born and raised in Ohio, she now lives in South Carolina. Connect with Tammy at HTTPS://TAMMYKARASEK.COM.


  1. It is satisfying to see progress in whatever method we choose to keep records with. Those tally marks are encouraging to say "yes, you did it!" Thanks for these great ideas.

  2. Thanks, Barbara! Yes, seeing progress is a great encouragement to keep at it!

  3. Tammy, I often defeat myself by setting far too many expectations for each day. Thank you for the mindset change of tallying successes.

    1. Jeannie, me too! Maybe it’s my math! I must think there’s more than 24 hours in one day to accomplish what I want done in one day!

  4. I love this as a way to 'let go' of lists and embrace a better attitude toward accomplishments. I am a die-hard list maker. The idea of 'no-checks-beside-my-lines' drove me crazy. I'll be trying this in my work, personal and writing life. This is just the grace I needed!

  5. Cool! Let me know if it frees you like it did me? Grace is necessary, you’re right, Sharmen. This helped me with learning to give myself grace!

  6. This is a fantastic example of how to re-think a problem or goal & come at it with fresh eyes. Thanks for pushing us out of the box this morning! :)

  7. Thanks ... and you’re welcome!

  8. Oh, I'm definitely adding this to my "To Be Read Often" list. :-) God's blessings my sweet friend.

  9. As the Admiral from SEALs said, every day, first thing, make your bed. No matter how bad the rest of the day is, you’ve already accomplished one thing to build on. Tally ho, indeed.

  10. Tammy, thank you for your post. I needed it. I'm a list-maker too, which helps me stay on track. I love checking that list off. But I get really depressed when something remains unchecked for too long. My word this year is Grace, that means grace for myself as well as others. Keeping a positive tally sheet is like looking at a glass half-full instead of half-empty, which means changing my attitude from focusing on what I didn't do to what I did do!

  11. Thank you Tammy. Very inspiring and encouraging message. :-)

  12. What a great idea! I especially liked the tally called, "I wrote, yay!" It made me smile and realize that we should recognize and celebrate our progress! I'm a list maker, so I appreciated this!

  13. Such a good idea. It helps to frame our goals in an encouraging way.