2005-04-28

The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem ...

... which I do. I can surf sites dedicated to organizational and productivity strategies for hours at a time. Yesterday, in fact, I killed FOUR HOURS doing it.

I know it was FOUR HOURS because one of the strategies I adopted to try to cut down on this time-vacuuming-career-draining problem was to begin a log recording how I spend my office time. Yesterday was the first day I did so, and here's what I found:

WEB & EMAIL & PLAYING WITH CALENDAR ON OUTLOOK -- 4 HOURS
WRITING -- 1.5 HOURS
READING MSS FOR FRIEND -- 1 HOUR
ORGANZING OFFICE (actually doing it, not just reading about doing it or making notes to do it) -- 15 MINS

So today's goals are to trim the surf time and beef everything else up. Granted, I still have a WiFi connection, so best intentions are pretty much poof so far ... though I kept my lit blog surfing to the 30 mins I'd planned for total web surfing this morning (and even managed to turn out the post below in that time), I couldn't resist quickly checking in on my favorite GTD sites.

And then it happened. There I was, minding my own business, procrastinating happily if guiltily, when I stumbled upon this take on writer's bl*** / debilitating procrastination in the most unlikely of places!

So sure, I may have a problem, but it ain't all bad.

On Rooms of Our Own (Again, Forever, Always)

We're about to start a major renovation at home, which has me thinking a lot about how/what I want my workspace there to be. I've already told our architectects it has to be quiet and somehow "separate" from the house, so people have to think twice about bothering me, but also so I catch myself as I'm getting up from the chair to go do dishes and make myself sit back down. I worry lots about going home to work again -- having office space a fifteen-minutes drive from home has been a blessing upon blessings, really. But we're not building more rooms so that I can keep throwing rent money at the dog-collar wearing kid I'm renting from here, so that being said, I think I ought to forward this essay to our architects as a sort of guide to how a writing space ought to be.

2005-04-01

Monthly Check-in: March

Having a horrible time motivating today -- head cold is screaming "We told you to take a day off, now you're going to be sick forever!" and I'm starting to think this should be the day. But if I don't write, I'll already be a day behind for April, which is a complicated month anyway considering the shuffling around I'll need to do with the writing schedule to account for mid-month trip to New York and seder preparations later ...

All this means, of course, is I'm procrastinating, but at least I'm doing things that are on my Office Action List, so here goes -- The March edition of the Monthly Check-in. And:

Yippee for me! Goals mostly met this month.

DAILY GOALS:

Write 500 words each day

NUMBER OF DAYS I MEANT TO WRITE 500 WORDS: 24
NUMBER OF DAYS I ACTUALLY WROTE 500 WORDS: 23.5

Analysis: Not going to beat myself up about one 1/2 day lost, considering for much of the month my daily word count greatly exceeded 500. Plus I managed all this despite horrendous cold and horrific computer issues at home that have eaten up 8 hours of each of the last three days.

MONTHLY GOALS:

Complete 1 novel chapter + 1 other project (chapter, story, essay) monthly = 2 pieces total

NUMBER OF CHAPTERS: 2
OTHER PROJECTS: 1 (first draft of travel essay "Honeymoon Where the Sun Never Sets!"

Analysis: Very impressed with my output this month. In fact, have decided upon NEW MONTHLY GOAL in this category, as of APRIL -- Complete 2 novel chapters + 1 other projects -- to which end I am instituting 1 additional workday each month, on a weekend day, set aside for speed-writing one start-to-finish story or essay draft.

Workshop 1 story / 1 essay each month

Hmm. I brought first 20 pages of "Endurance" to Monday group on Feb 28, I think, and have sent "Honeymoon..." draft off to Sunday group already for reading April 2. Gonna give myself credit for a March workshop with the April 2 date, and shoot to get something else out there by the end of the month -- perhaps a completed draft of "Endurance" or a revision of "Honeymoon."

QUARTERLY GOALS:

Submit current stories / essays for publication.

This is my weekend to get "Dirty Darlene" out there again. Gonna change this to a MONTHLY GOAL so that more copies are out there, and so I can cycle in new work more quickly if and when new work is done. Last submissions 1/12/05 went to Swink, Open City, Tin House, One Story, and Zoetrope. Swink declined last week -- still waiting on the other four. Today I'm submitting to Center, Santa Monica Review, Bridge, Crab Creek Review, and Cream City.