Sunday, April 10, 2011

Keeping Track

Late last summer, right before I went back to work, I was struggling to get myself into a writing groove. Specifically, I needed to make revisions on my middle grade novel. I hate revisions. I'd much rather create than revise.

So I went back to the tried and true. I set out in search of a calendar/journal for keeping track of my writing time.

In mid-September, I found the perfect calendar. I pulled it off a clearance shelf at Target and paid a whopping $1.74 for it, but I like it so much that I might just pay full price if I can find it again next fall.

At first, I made lots of entries - time spent writing and notes about what I was working on. Every once in a while, I'd make a notation about why I hadn't written - our wedding anniversary, automatic computer updates that stole precious time, the occasional weekend away.

Most weeks, I didn't meet the lofty time goal I'd set for myself, but thanks to my record keeping, instead of focusing on what I hadn't done, I could see written proof of what I had accomplished. Keeping track spurred me onward, through the revisions and into the Christmas season.

After Christmas, the entries grew more sparse, clustering on the weekends, which had become my designated writing time. I'd fallen into a routine, gotten into the writing groove that had been eluding me, and I had set my tool aside.

I still keep track of my time, often on the first page of the manuscript I am working on, but sometimes on a Post-it note, a scrap of paper, or even a receipt. Most of the entries make it into my calendar, but some don't, because now, with the dreaded revisions behind me, I can see my progress in the accumulated pages of my novel, and the increasing word count on the bottom of my computer screen as I work on my latest novel.

But I still love my calendar, and I still find it useful, especially when I get stuck. And during the times when it feels as though I'm not making any progress, it's nice to have written proof that that isn't the case.


  1. I agree, Lisa. I started keeping track of my writing time at the beginning of last year and then setting goals. It helped my production a lot! Right now I am deep into revising my first novel and it's going agonizingly slow. But I started recording time for this like I did for my writing and it's making me feel better--like I truly am accomplishing something!

  2. My sister loves revisions - I detest them! - so I was happy to find anything that made it feel as though I was making progress.

    Good luck with your revisions! Keep me posted on the progress of that novel!