clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, February 18, 2013

Journals, Old and New

At left, the nearly indestructible Moleskin and the durable yet fleeting iPad also using a Moleskin app.

Like you, I've carried a journal most of my adult life to catch ideas, snippets, flotsam.

However, I'm using a journal this year for for recording the information about the writing I do rather than holding the writing I produce.

I'm recording the meta-data.

I suggest you also consider the advantages of doing so.

Many of us are professionally organized and competent in our day jobs but turn to writing as if we're sophomores in high school once again. We do poorly with issues such as prioritization, time management, and consistency of effort.

The "about writing" journal helps.

I've tracking my

  • writing effort by word count,
  • progress towards projects (i.e. short story draft finished, first re-write finished, second draft polished),
  • time on projects including this blog, 
  • my reading list - currently reading and "need to read." 
I'm tracking the effort I spend in design, drafts, edits, and administration.

I hate recording time. However, it's helping.

I've been able to see by a simple application (Eternity on iOS) the percent of effort I am expending on various aspects of this increasingly serious pursuit. Its use is effortless.

I'm able to look in my journal at progress I've made in production of content.

It has been a real help for the ego. It provides a type of grounding that shows a measure of progress that otherwise is completely lacking. "January, I did X and wrote six chapters of Y and edited two short stories and sent two others out and ..."

It looks much more impressive when we're tracking our activities. Those milestones of novels published or stories in an anthology come too rarely to be the reinforcement many of us require. The frustration factor can grow in the middle of winter and a journal about writing helps.

I'd urge you to provide that sense of accomplishment and success in your own efforts by considering recording them in a journal. It makes those "I'm completely shit at this"  moments much more insignificant when they come.

Hart Johnson has something to say today about ego over here. It's well worth looking at to see how she deals with angst. Celeste Holloway has the opposite end going for her right now on her blog here. She's deep in a final edit and getting excited about the end of the process.

Me? The steady progress recorded in the journal will help keep the tiller hand firm as I move ahead.

1 comment:

Hart Johnson said...

Hey, thank you so much for the shout out! And I'm excited someone just volunteered that I would be having my signing in May...

I keep track of words during a WriMo, but I've never kept track of time... I think I am not that organized. I do most of my editing on my commute (a lot of my reading, too). I could probably reconstruct some stuff from the Writing Sprints R Us page (a facebook group--we frequently sprint together and you're welcome to join if you like to write in sprints at all)