S. J. Kelley

Week of Jan 26, 2015: Productivity and optimizing writing speed

I follow quite a few author blogs. One of those is Dean Wesley Smith’s. Everyday he outlines his writing achievements of the day, which I found interesting to read in the beginning, but they’ve become somewhat monotonous. That said, I think blogging about progress is an excellent way to hold yourself accountable, a topic that author-entrepreneur Joanna Penn wrote about this week (someday I’ll write a post with all the excellent blogs I follow). In the interests of holding myself accountable but not becoming too monotonous, I thought I might write weekly progress updates.

This is the first week that I actually feel I may be able to do this. It’s my final crazy week at work, but my don’t-break-the-chain’s are keeping me on track regardless, and I feel like I’m getting back into “the zone.” I think having achievable baby-step goals really helps it feel less daunting. I’ve printed out my “production calendar” and will put it up with the rest of my goals in my dining room. (Production goals are another thing Dean is big on.)

My little productivity worksheet is now tracking how many words I write a day. Unfortunately I’m finding that if I write 500 and delete 200 old ones from yesterday, my count is still only 300. I both like and dislike this. It’s good because realistically I’m only 300 words closer to my goal; it’s bad because I don’t really have a good grasp on how fast I can write, and that hurts my scheduling. After reading Rachel Aaron’s post on how she used data collection to improve her writing efficiency (check out Step 2), I started keeping a spreadsheet to track how much I write at certain times of day and how I’m feeling. I’ll do some rough analysis once I have some data. (I’m a real fan of data; if you are too, you may want to check out the quarterly Author Earning Reports run by Data Guy and Hugh Howey.)

Every Sunday I will (try to) update my word counter on the sidebar, an idea I gleamed from Hugh Howey, a very successful indie author. I’m up to 11,000 if I count early half outline/half draft versions of Act I, which I won’t. So looks like 2800.

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