Monday, October 4, 2010

Keeping Track

Today I’m taking part in Patti Nielson’s Blogfest about keeping track of how much time we wrote or edited last week. This Blogfest was a great exercise. It reminded me how important it is to keep track of the time because it’s so easy to squander. Distractions have a way of creeping in and before we know it another day has passed and we have little to show for it.

If this Blogfest had happened a month ago I could have proudly posted my neat schedule and my 1000 words a day goal. However, now I’m in the editing phase and it’s harder to pinpoint goals while I’m still looking at the big picture, testing my plot, tweaking the characters and events. I needed to adjust my schedule and be both stricter and kinder with myself so I can get this done and feel good about it.

As it turned out I did an average of five hours a day on editing. It would have been higher but I didn’t start the week off well and I chose to take a day off and I didn't even bother to count the weekend because I've been down with flu. However, when I paid attention to what I was doing – yes, reading through the ms is editing; yes, thinking about plot is editing; yes, scrubbing out changes I’d just made is still successful editing – I felt so much better about my WIP. I may not have been able to point to fresh new pages of glossy print, but I did achieve a forward step on my novel.

So, my advice is to keep track. Give yourself achievable goals. Be kind to yourself. And keep writing!

Do you try to keep track of your daily achievements? If so, how do you keep track?

39 comments:

  1. I spent quite a lot of time last week editing as my publisher asked me to look over the final edits for my second novel. Now it's off to be formated and then I'll see the gallies next, and cover art soon!

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  2. I DO NOT keep track of the time. If I did, I would be too depressed. I have so little time it seems...

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  3. Jan, nice one :)

    Pat, yeah, that's why I try to keep track of goals as well as time.

    Alex, you think? I thought I was getting a bit tardy with only five hours since a standard working day is eight. But as it turned out I had thought I was doing less than five hours so I ended up being pleased. lol

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  4. i aim for 1-2 hours a day... but it seems like i never get anywhere! maybe if i could find more time... i need that watch hermione granger had...
    five hours a day is amazing!

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  5. Five hours of editing a day? That's excellent work, Lynda! I was working on the same thing last week but I don't think I managed to get as much done as you.

    Jai

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  6. I'm so amazed you did five hours a day. I can maybe do two or three and my brain is fried. Perhaps I can do more on the first round of edits but when I've been reading through the manuscript 30 times, I just can't. Great blogfest.

    CD

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  7. Last week, I had four great writing days and three not so great days or I can call them bad days. But keeping track is a good idea and giving ourselves small achievable goals is a wonderful way of arriving at our destination (a completed manuscript).

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  8. Lynds, since I'm kinda new around your blog, being your follower for just a month or two, what is your WIP about? What genre?

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  9. I think it's even more important to keep track when you're editing, because you don't have the word count to gauge your progress. I spent all week editing as well.

    Thanks for participating.

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  10. 1000 words a day! Yowza. I don't go by words though; I go by pages. Last year I remember doing 3-5 pages a day (depending on how much rough editing I did over the prior scene), but this year I'm lucky to be writing 2 pages a day. For now, I'm content with that...well, not really CONTENT, but life is just busier this year, so it'll have to do and it's better than nothing!!

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  11. Hi, I'm a new follower! I do try and do the usual 1000 words a day target - but it does get hard when working full time as well! I tend to try and pay a visit to my WIP at least once a day - but do the bulk of my writing/editing at the weekends.

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  12. aspiring, I know all too well that feeling of not gttting anywhere -- it doesn't seem to matter how much time I'm able to devote.

    Jai, Thanks. I'm feeling a whole lot better now :)

    Clarissa, my brain definitely fries near the end of the day -- sometimes sooner. And when I've read my ms that many times I need another break because I can no longer tell what needs fixing.

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  13. Rachna, for that very reason I need to keep track otherwise I think I've gone nowhere.

    Dez, even my old followers (bar one) don't know that. I hadn't made it public. It is a young adult fantasy set on the High Seas. I have a real love of those gorgeous tall ships.

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  14. Patti, yes exactly! Even though it's harder to keep track, it's so important (for me anyway).

    Carol, 1000 was just the minimum. I usually wrote more...but sometimes, like you, I couldn't get close even to the minimum because life has a way of changing our priorities.

    Katie, Welcome! I admire anyone who writes AND works full time. It requires a whole lot of discipline.

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  15. PS sorry I've been a bit slow getting back to you guys. I'm still fighting flu and it's difficult to concentrate. But I WILL get back to you :)

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  16. oh, please do put some crazy but elegant and dashing pirate character named Dezmond in it :)

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  17. You did super. WOW! That's a lot of editing. And hey. I love it when you said, "but I did achieve a forward step on my novel." That my friend is what's important. That FORWARD step. Congrads. :)

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  18. I did Patti's blogfest too. It was really good for me to keep track. I'm going to do that from now on. It kept me accountable of how much time I really use.

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  19. Dez, you never know...I might just do that ;) But, instead of a pirate, would a Tavern Keeper or maybe a cabin boy do? ;)

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  20. Robyn, that's something I've had to remind myself of a lot. The Forward step is what's imoprtnat :)

    Jennifer, that's exactly it -- it keeps us accountable. Otherwise I'm a master of finding distraction.

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  21. Lynda - What a cool blogfest. If I kept track of my time spent working on my WIP, it would probably help me focus more. And your WIP sounds like a lot of fun!! =D

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  22. RaShelle, thanks :) And yes, keeping track definitely helps me to focus.

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  23. Well done! This is very inspiring. Hope you have another productive week. Good luck with your editing!

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  24. Wow, getting in an average of five hours a day is great! And you're right about being kind to ourselves. Nothing gets you down more than feeling bad about your writing:) Good luck with your editing!

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  25. An average of five hours a day editing!! That's great. Love your advice. Give yourself achievable goals--when I think of that I think of giving myself goals that I actually have control over. And, Be kind to yourself--that is so important! Thanks.

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  26. I generally keep track with a "To Do" list and I eventually apply a lot of forgiveness to that list because improvement can be found everywhere and in the most unlikely places. A list helps me to see how much I ACTUALLY get done. Forgiveness just helps me so that I'm okay with myself when I cross out the things I didn't accomplish. In between all of it, I like to take adventures with my children and DH. It is often topsy turvy and quite mercurial (shall I say a bit of madness at times), but it is totally worth it when it makes me feel complete. LOL.

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  27. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog and following! That's great that you could make some progress even though you were sick. I don't usually keep track because I think it makes me a bit crazy, but for now I'm happy with the progress I'm making.

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  28. Wow, five hours a day??? That's amazing :)

    I try to keep track and stick with a goal, but it doesn't always work out.

    I'm sorry to hear you had the flu, I hope you're feeling better now!

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  29. Jamie, thanks, I think I need all the luck I can get ;)

    Melissa, that's so true-- nothing does get me down more than feeling bad about writing. That's why I need those goals :)

    Paul, it's funyn because I seriously didn't realise I was putting in that much time...but I could probably put in more (but we won't go there).

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  30. Angela, To Do lists are awesome. I love lists because I love crossing things out. It's so satisfying :)

    Bethany, as long you are happy with your progress then there is no need to keep track. Everyone works differently. The key is finding what works for you.

    WritingNut, I still have the flu. The wretched thing is clinging on... I'll defeat it soon enough though ;)

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  31. I'm just no good with deadlines, but maybe that's just an excuse for laziness? I'm in the editing stages right now too, and I get maybe 3 hours in a day.

    100o words in one day is impressive. I'm not sure if I've ever done that but somehow I doubt it. :)

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  32. This is why I'm cutting back my blogging schedule. If I was keeping track of my blogging time I'd have a lot of hours to report. Hopefully now I'll be able to start reporting writing time instead.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  33. "Dez, you never know...I might just do that ;) But, instead of a pirate, would a Tavern Keeper or maybe a cabin boy do? ;)"

    no, not a tavern keeper, I don't drink :), and I think I'm a bit too big for a cabin boy, but if a cabin job involves some hot scenes, I wouldn't mind it :) Maybe some crazy wizard or a weird fortuneteller, a master of some exotic island, or should I be modest and just ask for a royal role in the book? :)

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  34. I don’t usually keep track but thanks to this blogfest I am considering doing it on a regular basis. Really helps you focus on what needs to be done.

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  35. 5 hours a day! Wow!! I am shocked by this. I don't do anywhere near that. Maybe 1--if there's nothing on TV.

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  36. Amanda, 3 hours of editing is great! Deadlines help me get off my lazy proverbial.

    Arlee, yeah I try not to keep track of how much time I spend on social media (mainly blogging)...then again, maybe I should!

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  37. Dez, Ok, no cabin boy, but I like the idea of a tavern keeper who doesn't drink. Oh wait!! I got it!! How about a parrot!!??!!!

    Gargimehra, keeping track for me definitely helps to keep me focussed.

    Elana, Until everyone's comments I thought I was getting tardy with my writing time. Apparently not. I won't be as hard on myself now. :)

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