Monday, August 8, 2011

Keeping a Work Diary

This was a superb idea I had!

Like most of us, I often use the not-today-I’ll-do-it-tomorrow excuse, especially with exercise and cleaning. When I started keeping track of how often I actually did those things, I was shocked. I thought I did them a lot more often than I did.

I started to keep track of my writing. Like I suspected, the way I thought I wrote and the way I actually wrote were not the same.

Keeping a diary this past month has been a great way for me to focus, get organized, and stay motivated. I typically write a paragraph that includes several things:
1.       How long I wrote
2.      What I wrote
3.      What I’m struggling with
4.      What else I did that day
5.      Why I didn’t write as much as I wanted to
I see now what everyone’s saying about writing everyday for the pure joy of it. It is pure joy to write consistently and not just when I feel like it, but I couldn’t know that until I tried it. It takes a leap of faith.
I like to write my entries like Rorschach from Watchmen, where the sentences are clipped and I don’t use any pronouns. It makes me feel official, for some reason.

Wrote 2 hours. Struggling with antagonist. Book progressing at decent pace. Focus has room for improvement. Facebook continues to be a distraction.

Do you keep track of your progress, or do you just go for it?


  1. This is a great idea. I don't keep a diary for it, but I really should! I'm glad it's working for you. I'll have to give it a try.

  2. Good idea! I need to do this. Time always seems to slip away from me, and I really need to get down and write. Just write. Having a diary should be good motivation. ;)

  3. Perfect idea! I'm gonna have to give this one a go. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love the Watchmen frame. What a kick. I used to try to keep a diary, but then would feel guilty about now writing in it daily.

  5. What a great idea! Okay, I'm trying this!

  6. Great advice, Teralyn!

    P.S. I'm awarding you the Liebster Blog Award.

    Please visit my site to claim it!

  7. What an interesting idea. Mine would look a little something like this: Great job. Oh, crap. This sucks. Wait, wait! I got it! YES!!! I need a cartoon to go with it.

  8. I do this already, but I like the addition of the extra details. I think it could be helpful to know where I wrote, how I felt, and what I struggled with.

  9. This has nothing to do with your post, but Gabriel Lessa is hosting a contest and one of the judges, Peter Lynch, does historical fiction. There is only about a day to enter, but you might want to try.

  10. I almost wrote everyday for a straight week. My streak got ruined yesterday. Here's to the next week!

    Maybe I should keep a diary in one of the ten new notebooks I got the other day...

    I've tagged you here:

  11. This is a great idea! I am definitely going to try it! :)

  12. Cool idea. John Steinbeck did something along these lines with GRAPES OF WRATH, and, more formally, with EAST OF EDEN. My favorite entries on the GRAPES OF WRATH journals were the ones where he stayed up too late drinking with friends, slept in and then despaired about how little work he got done.

    When I was working on one of my novels, I started each day by reading part of Steinbeck's EDEN journal and an excerpt from the chapter he was working on that day.

    I like the way your idea can foster reflection on the writing process, which I think is a great way to grow as a writer.

  13. I'm glad this post was helpful! Gwen, thanks for the award, Vendrell, thanks for telling me about the contest, and Brooke, thanks for the mention. I have some incredible followers!

  14. What a fabulous idea. I have been struggling with focus, and this may be exactly what I need.
    Facebook has become a distraction for me also. I have already decided to keep track of the time I spend there.
    Great post thank you so much for sharing.

  15. This is a great idea!! It's short, focused and gets straight to the point. Yep, another idea to thank you for!


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