Tracking my writing time

Tracking my writing timeI have previously discussed that I think it is important to write every day, that I set writing times and that I track my writing. But lately I wondered if I was actually writing as much as I thought I was.

Firstly there were a few weeks there where I wasn’t writing at all (due to moving, exhaustion and other related but not really good enough excuses). Then when I was writing I realised that I wasn’t quite meeting my usual writing appointments or that I wasn’t fully using them. For example, I have an hour for lunch, I was recording it as an hour’s writing but by the time I walked to my writing spot and back I was only writing for about 40 to 45 minutes.

Not meeting my writing goals stresses me out. And I have set some big ones this year, which have been greatly impacted on by my lack of writing during the move. The good news is that my annual retreat is not far away and I can make up some time then, even though I have that time booked out for one specific project.

I can get bogged down in planning and organising and then find I have wasted all my writing time on developing plans and schedules and to do lists. (It is good to know where your weaknesses are).

I am now trying something simple.

Firstly I have set priorities – Snow is the first as I need to get this edit done. I have also removed something from the list (if only for the moment until I have sorted myself out a bit).

Then (with a pen) on every day in my diary I write down when I think I should be able to write. My usual booked times and then when I think I might be able to squeeze in some more, with a total time planned for the day.

On a scrap of paper (at this point but it seems to work) I am writing down every little chunk of writing I get done, including the times and what I did. At the end of the day I write how much writing I did get done into my diary.

I am using this new system to see how well I’m sticking to my writing plans. I know I could do more. And I know I am watching too much tv (recently got sucked into a new series, very bad but couldn’t stop watching – damn you Netflix).

I know that I want to write. I need to focus on what is important and realise that I need to allow myself some time off as well. But not when it is wasted time.

By the end of the first week I was able to see the variation between how much writing I thought I could do and how much I did do.

The result was clearly that I am not writing as much as I thought I would and I am not meeting my usual morning writing appointments. Lunch time appointments are working but for some reason I can’t seem to force myself out of bed for the morning and if I do get up I do other (housework type) things.

I feel bad for missing my mornings because it is like a free hour, one that doesn’t clash with anything else. And it was usually my most productive time.

I have discovered that I’m not as focused on my priority project as I thought. It seems to take a back seat to my blog and drafting. That may be because of where I’m writing at the moment and the drafting files are easy to open and add to when I can. Editing takes a little more preparation and thought to do properly and so I’m not as keen to get it out of my bag when I have a little chunk of time. I think I will have to be more proactive in setting aside specific Snow editing time.

Looking over this week it also appears that I need more down time than I am currently planning or allowing for in my schedule. Or at least over the last week I have taken more down time and I felt at the time I needed it. This will change as everything starts to settle down, I hope, and my brain becomes less full of other things.

I will keep going with this new system to see what else it tells me about my writing. That is the main reason I try to write down (track) what I do is so that I can learn from it and determine how I can do better.

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