I have plans.
I’m a relatively organised person. I have a little calendar plug-in for my Thunderbird email client, in which a spectrum of coloured calendars tracks my progress on specific ventures. Rather like a kaleidoscope of confetti strewn around me.
A couple of nights ago I succumbed to a fever of organisation and created a document in which I will track from now on, month by month, what work I’ve completed (the media, whether it’s new, a rewrite, etc.), and what has gone out to market. For instance, it might take a number of weeks/months of percolation and redrafting before a story is offered up to the wardens of publication after I’ve completed it.
For a few years I’ve recorded my submissions to short story markets, but I wanted an overview of my creative output, especially since I also write screenplays and the occasional play.
February, very unexpectedly, was a solid writing month. Mercury retrograde – ha!
I do not say this with smug satisfaction, but harbouring the superstitious fear that it was just a fluke. My weather-eye watches the horizon for signs of the clouds of distraction and despair.
Generally, the most I plot forward in life is six months. Life is inconstant. It’s best to remember that everything can change without notice. It’s one of life’s charms as well as its sorrows.
So, the arc of my writing path has been established for the coming six months, and after that I can only discern the smoky trails of probabilities, all of which depend upon adherence to my current schedule. What has worked for me lately has not been to obsess over word counts, but to write and see what happens. There are goals in the back of my mind, but they do not dominate the writing process.
I try to remember two things:
1) I like to write
2) Write what I like
We’ll see how this serves me in the coming months.
I’ve actually been thinking about seeing whether I could find some kind of plugin to use on my blog, to track writing. You know, tracking submissions, daily wordcounts, stuff sent out. Tracking a whole set of types of event, and being able to display it graphically in terms of a line graph with different displays for each thing. Submissions sent out, a dot. Submissions rejected, an X. Submission sold, a happyface. Word count a solid line. Etc. It’s not that I’m totally dissatisfied with the progress bars I’m using, but a creative-production tracker that works more in process than in product is something I’d like. Especially now that I’m about to start fiddling with composing music again. I want to make sure it’s not stealing time I could be using writing, but also don’t want to just give up on it wholesale because of unfounded worries that I might not write enough if I get back into writing music.If I find anything, I’ll let you know.
Thanks Gord. Yes, I think there’s a chance you can spend more time tracking and planning stuff rather than writing! I don’t want to over-organise everything, but I like to have a good sense of my overall progress. The goal is to help me keep better writing habits, not revel in statistics. 😉