#WritersLife Problem: a Word-Count-Only Log Feeds Wheaties to Poindexter
Keeping a word count log promotes self-discipline. Empty day slots shout a story, but not the full story. On days I create neither sentence nor paragraph, I may instead tackle editing, research, or proofing chores. But the empty day slots awakened Poindexter, my Inner Critic. Hey, he’s a rough dude, insisting I “prove” I’m NOT the chump he claims. Memory offers only hazy recall, positioning Poindexter to annihilate my spirit. Resolved: shut that <expletive> down!
The Cure: An Enhanced Daily Writing Process Log in my Bullet Journal
Think, writers! Drafting may be the core of writing, but its BFFs demand equal attention. I refer to editing, proofing, researching, image procurement and optimization (hi, bloggers 👋🏽), not to mention assorted related administrative chores. A flat word-count-only listing ignores these intricately related tasks, setting the stage for Poindexter to inflict damage (“Chump, you ain’t even disciplined enough to write every day. Told ya you’re a fraud!”) The best way to neuter Poindexter: deprive him of food. In this instance, that translates into creating a log more reflective of the multiple tasks comprising an honest writing work day.
The Tool: Hobonichi’s Vertical Monthly Pages = Writing Log Perfection
The vertical monthly pages of the A5 Hobonichi Cousin Avec form my weapon of choice. Each month’s vertical column spans ten 3.7mm grid blocks, perfect for functional planning, e.g. the anticipated checklist-style log:
- D / drafting
- E / editing
- P / proofing
- R / researching
- A / admin
- B / book-in-progress
- — blank — (for #OneBookJuly2017, I’m trying “6 word story” in this slot)
- } small columns =
- } 3 blocks to hold the
- } standard word-count-only entries
Because the two books comprising the Cousin Avec run from January through June, and July through December, I opted to copy my June entries into the second book. They appear along the bottom of a vertical monthly page.
The June image confirms: the slot for the actual word-count-only sits empty on seven days. Yet I actually indulged some aspect of the writing process on all but three of those days. I applied shading to each of those three didn’t-wear-my-writing-hat days, so they stand out. The three-days-missed surpass a goal milestone: I allow myself five writing-free days per month.
As regards the opening days of July—the extended holiday weekend—I indulged two projects: rearranging our living room to accommodate a slim desk, dedicated to planning/review sessions; and, moving my Editorial Calendar to a Kokuyo Scheduler Diary 2017 Month book. Those notes appear on the Cousin’s related Daily pages.
If I maintained only a sterile listing of daily word counts, negativity would flow from the visual “proof” of my failure to meet my goal on seven days in June. But the comprehensive version ensures nuanced truth: I did not draft new articles/chapters on seven days, but I did indeed indulge the writing process on four of those “empty” days. Result: what could yield a disheartening review instead transforms into an atta girl! scenario!
Benefits of a Bullet Journal‘s Comprehensive Writing Process Log
In addition to telling Poindexter to go to <cough> the Land of Eternal Intense Heat,</cough> the Enhanced Log provides clues about writing process rhythms, empowering me to decipher patterns. Days of intense productivity sometimes dovetail into near nothingness. I’m guessing that’s a human reaction to actual or near burn-out. After all, running a race typically requires a few subsequent days of rest so muscles can regroup.
Rather than fight the predictable/natural, I embrace it by adjusting my workflow. The “down days” now see me researching, editing, and proofing. The lion’s share of the work—cementing thoughts to paper—is done, affording the luxury of focused “other” intrinsically related work. When drafting proves taxing I welcome respite, indulging what I call gentler productivity sessions. What I want to do still gets done; I simply approach my scheduling in a more intelligent and efficient manner.