So here we are again, one month on, looking back on what progress I’ve made from following Sage Cohen’s Productivity Pro advice.
The first point I should make is that looking back and comparing my progress has never been so easy. I’ve got daily, weekly, and monthly running totals to compare. I’ve even got totals that provide numbers for how much ‘writing’ I’ve actually done and how much was actually ‘pre-writing‘ — note taking and outlining.
My totals for March were almost three times higher than those for February, and I worked on twice as many stories. My ‘pre-writing’ for March was just under a quarter of my total (non-business related) output. It had been around one-sixth of my total output for February. Of my ‘writing’ total, in February my Blog accounted for about a quarter of the word-count. In March, despite the count actually being fairly similar, the ratio was more like one-eleventh. And none of this takes into account the unknown number of words written commenting on other people’s blogs and interacting with ‘my community’ over the last month.
These comparisons are not exactly fair. I didn’t start tracking my writing until mid-February, though I was able to put some numbers down from earlier in the month. I was (sporadically) working on my novel for most of the early half of February and working out how to implement the Productivity Pro advice for much of the latter half.
I didn’t work on my novel at all in March, having decided to put it aside and concentrate on the short form for a while. The short story, as short as I’ve been writing, actually makes it harder to come up with significant word totals. On a novel, I can write fifteen hundred to three thousand words on any given day on any given chapter and have it be fairly smooth sailing. A lot of my more recent shorts haven’t been much longer than that. Then I have to put it aside and move on to a new story, develop the idea, do some note taking and background development before being able to write the story. With the novel, every day (these days) would be work on the text itself, mainly because I’ve already spent ten years developing the background, the milieu, the history, etc.
To make things a bit easier on myself, I’ve been setting many of the short stories in the same milieu as my novel, but that has also revealed some places where I needed to do further development. With the novel, I had characters who visited a planet for a short period of time before moving on to other worlds and other adventures that were part of a larger galactic-spanning plot.
With the short story, I’m setting the whole story on that one world and using a native of that world to tell the story, that means I need to know a great deal more about the culture and history of his people than I needed for the cursory visit of my non-native characters. Having developed this for the short story, when I return to the novel and bring my characters to this world I’ll be able to give them a much richer experience, and that will translate into a richer experience for my readers too.
So, to return to the topic, there are some very encouraging signs, and part of that is due to Sage’s advice about tracking progress, focusing on my long-term goals, and paying attention to my platform and my community. None of these areas actually makes you a more productive writer, they can even detract from your productivity if you let them dominate your time. What they do accomplish is to provide motivation, stimulation, and encouragement to get your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard. And that, always, will be what actually makes you more productive.
In : Productivity Pro
Tags: "word count tracking" "community building" "sage cohen"
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