Writing Work Logging

Today I am starting an eight week task of logging all the writing work I do, by word count and completed items.

I have created a spreadsheet, one line for each of the next eight weeks, in which I will log the following information.

  • Journal words per week
  • Blog post words per week
  • Fiction and non fiction words per week
  • Fiction and non-fiction items completed per week

To me, the main item is the completed articles count, which will be the key indicator of success as a writer, how much can you complete.

Only time will tell. There are obviously other indicators that could be used as well, such as eBooks sold if you have anything published. However, I think this will do for now.

Out of this, I want to measure my commitment to writing, and if that commitment isn’t there to accept that and move on.

 

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The Key is to Finish

I have been reviewing my fiction and non-fiction work documents, so as to update the pages on this blog with their details as a way to keep track of them.

To date, I have 27 fiction items I’m working on, with an additional 22 ideas and 8 ideas for a detective type series.

As for non-fiction, I have 6 items plus a further 38 ideas.

Of these, guess how many are finished?

Yep, precisely zero, none, nada.

It was obvious to me before, crystal clear now, that finishing work so that it’s ready for publication and possible sale must be one of the prime drivers for any writing life, certainly mine. OK, there will always be stuff there that is a labour of love, but if you want to make a career of it you have to be a finisher. Regularly and consistently. And I am evidently not one of those.

Well at least I know where I need to get to.

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Writing Commitment

I’ve not blogged for a while, and this post may explain why.

To me, there are three components that make up a writer; ability, talent and passion.

Ability

Ability is the basics, can you write, can you form grammatically correct sentences that put across opinions and ideas.  Essentially, can you write?

Talent

Talent is taking that ability and doing something more with it.  Can you use these words and turn them into something interesting?  Can you create content that people want to read.  Essentially, can you write well?

Passion

Here is the kicker.  With this ability and talent, can you do this every day?  Can you do this when you really don’t want to?  Can you write stuff you are simply not interested in, or do you just have to wait for the muse to hit you. (Hint; it doesn’t exist).  Essentially, can you write regardless?

To me, a writer is defined by those three elements.  I came to that conclusion while thinking about my writing career and the work I haven’t done recently.  Guess where I think I am at the moment (Another hint, you don’t have to count higher than one).

To be a writer, you have to factor in the three elements above, and have a really persistent attitude to your passion for writing.  If there is no passion, unfortunately the simple truth is you’ll never get anywhere with it.

Like all writers, that’s something I have to come to terms with, and either really kick it up a gear or maybe make the hard decision that it’s not for me.

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Content is King

I’ve not blogged for a while, much less actually written some stuff but a recent turn of events has made me consider my position.  I was going to attend a literature festival event tonight, a series of presentations by writers, but I just don’t seem up to it at all.

It made me consider exactly what I was expecting from the event.  Although it would be fun in itself, I have realized that I thought it would inspire me to write in some way.  That also got me thinking about online or real-life writing groups, and how they motivate people to write.  And the simple fact is that for me they don’t motivate.  My issue is a lot more ‘core’ than that, the simple habit of sitting down in front of a computer and writing.

Nothing else in my life will make me do that except my own willpower, such as it is.  No one is going to be sitting next to me as a I write from any writing group, course or event I attend.  It is, as one writer said, a truly lonely business but the simple fact is, that is what it is.  just me, alone.

Without having written, you are not a writer, so first and foremost, let’s write and worry about the other stuff later.  In fact, let’s not worry about it, let’s just concentrate on what there is in this very moment, which is just me at the keyboard writing this post.  Simple mindful focus.

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Elmore’s Rules of Writing

With the recent death of Elmore Leonard, his 10 rules of writing have hit a number of websites.  They are short, so I recommend you read them.

The best recommendation in my opinion is his summary one;

“My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

I personally struggle with all the writing suggestions and guides that are out there, finding it a substitution for actual writing. I think thought that quote that it mustn’t sound like writing is key and probably trumps all others. Anything that get’s in the way of a readers enjoyment of the story shouldn’t be there, and you only get that by writing and rewriting a lot.

In the end, you need content to see if any of the rules of writing apply.

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