As a writer, I am intensely interested in the writing process — both mine and other writers. I love to read articles about how writers arrange their days, how they motivate themselves to get the words down, how they schedule and pace their projects.
Are they pantsers or plotters? Do they type or dictate? Do they work at home or at their fav cafe? Do they have word count goals or just time blocks where they have to fill the page?
In an effort to improve my own productivity, I have decided to engage in a process of self-exploration. I am going to be keeping a journal of my writing habits for the next 30 to 60 days. (I haven’t decided exactly how long to continue this yet.)
My intention is to try to write daily Monday through Friday, and possibly work a short time on Saturdays as well. I intend to write down what time I write, how much I get done, and what I worked on, whether that was adding word count, editing, brainstorming and plotting, or writing out beats.
I’ll track what processes I use such as Pomodoros or writing sprints, oral dictation, typing, or pen & paper. I also have a variety of writing locations including my office, the guest room, the library, or Panera.
I also want to record how I feel about each session, whether I was inspired, tired, bored, or indifferent. I also intend to note any activities or events in my life that disrupted my creative process in the hopes of cutting out some of those aggravations.
I’m hoping that I will see patterns emerge that will allow me to refine my process and find the methods, times, and locations that allow me to tap into my creativity most effectively.
I intend to post my results on this blog every week which should serve three purposes.
One, I hope that posting my results will help to keep me accountable for writing every day and putting in the effort. I was involved in an accountability mastermind group, but the moderator suddenly decided to close the group, leaving me and many other members without a way to touch base with our accountability partners that we had developed within that group.
Two, I think there’s an incredible value in keeping track of progress and recording statistics and data that you can go back and analyze. Until you have solid information over time to analyze, it’s hard to make credible decisions about what is working and what isn’t, and what you need to change in order to become more effective.
Three, I hope that by posting my results other writers will be able to learn from my process and gain ideas and inspiration for their own writing routines. In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges of being a career writer is learning about yourself, your capabilities, overcoming your own bad habits, and developing the routines and disciplines that it takes to make a career of writing.
I’ve gathered a great deal of inspiration from other writers, and I hope that by sharing my journey I can pay it forward. For links to all the blog articles in this series, click on the blog category “Writing Journal”.
August 13, 2018
Time: Noon – 1 pm
What I accomplished: 811 words
How I felt: I am still adapting to the dictation method, and it feels awkward and slow. Plus, I’m super tired from the neighbors dogs keeping us up for hours last night, so my brain isn’t working at full speed. Still I’m happy with the progress.
August 14, 2018
Time: 10 – 11:30 pm
What I accomplished: Finalized copy for my blog article
How I felt: After weeks of feeling completely indifferent toward my blog, I finally felt like working on an article. I finished up this one in short order and had it ready to upload. It kinda helped revitalize my enthusiasm for the blog.
Time: 2 – 3:30 pm
What I accomplished: 1,053 words on novel
How I felt: I had a bit of a hard time getting rolling on the scene at first, but once I got about 300 words into it, the rest began to flow a little easier. It wasn’t the best time of day for me to be writing and I was tired and distracted. Still I got in my minimum word count.
Project: Editing Chicken Book
Time: 6 – 7:30 pm
Method: Pen and manuscript
What I accomplished: 50 pages edited
How I felt: I am ready to get this chicken book done, so I am determined to plow through 30 – 50 pages a day to get it edited. Right now I’m just marking up the manuscript, then I will go back and enter my changes and tighten things up. It’ll probably need at least one more read through before I’m done, but then we can get the blog and marketing rolling.
August 15, 2018
Project: Blog article
Time: 10:30 -11:30 pm
What I accomplished: I got my blog article uploaded, graphics made, and article published
How I felt: I was glad to get another article online and this one was a fun report and review on some cash back programs I’m trying. It’s not exactly aligned with my niche, but it was what I needed to get me going again so….
Time: 3:00 – 4:00
What I accomplished: I wrote my weekly newsletter to my followers giving them an update on what I’ve been up to and also letting them know about the new blog. Now to do some Pinterest.
How I felt: This week’s email flowed very easily. I typed it out almost without pausing and felt like I was in a zone. I then proceeded to draft outlines for a handful of other blog articles and wrote right up until dinner was ready.
Additional: Did a little more work on my next blog post and then did some Pinterest marketing from 7:00 pm to 7:45 pm. Sick of working now. Calling it a day!
August 16, 2018
Project: Pinterest Marketing and Editing Chicken Book
Time: 10 am – 1:00 pm
What I accomplished: I got new pins uploaded for both sites and did some manual pinning. I then filled my Tailwind queue and
How I felt: The editing went well, but I was plagued with tech difficulties with marketing tasks.
Time: 2 – 3 pm
What I accomplished: I got another batch of chapters edited on the chicken book and now have just 70 pages left to go. Maybe tomorrow or Saturday I can finish up marking my manuscript and next week start entering edits.
How I felt: I am feeling excited about this book. I don’t have too many edits and it’s easy to read and entertaining. The editing is flowing.
August 17, 2018
Time: 11:00 – 11:30
Method: Manual typing
What I accomplished: I drafted out the basics for a blog, and then got hungry. Took my voice recorder on an errand run with Chad and dictated the rest of the article in the car.
How I felt: I opened my phone too early in the day which left me feeling distracted. I have to remember to stay out of social media until late afternoon.
Time: 2:30 – 3
Method: Manual typing
What I accomplished: I transcribed my dictation and finished up the article for my blog. It could use one last editing pass, then I will create graphics and get it uploaded.
How I felt: The dictation was very useful. I typed it out and just did a light edit and some rearranging of items. I think the dictation saved me a lot of time.
Time: 5:00 – 7:00
What I accomplished: I created graphics for my next blog, gave the blog a final edit, then uploaded everything to WordPress and formatted it all, SEO’d it, and researched my Pinterest keywords so I could write stellar descriptions. I also wrote up a rough draft for my newsletter next week.
How I felt: Things were really flowing well. I felt like my image designs were bright and catchy, an my descriptions were spot on. The newsletter flowed out nicely and I think my audience will like it.
August 18, 2018
Time: 1 – 3 pm
What I accomplished: I finished editing the last 75 pages of the chicken book. Now all I have left to do is just enter the changes in the manuscript and start formatting.
How I felt: It felt like a huge accomplishment to get that done and I’m ready to go celebrate!
Went line dancing to celebrate a great week of accomplishments!
August 19, 2018
My review of the week:
I am really happy with all I accomplished this week. I stayed very productive without being a total workaholic and got a lot of project done. I feel really good about how well the words flowed and how much better I am able to concentrate. I look forward to seeing how next week goes.