So one of my long term projects for this year was an excel spreadsheet that I recorded the hours I spent toward my writing career. I’ve heard the advice over and over that if you want to be a writer you need to treat it like a job. So one of the things I decided was that I needed to spend 20 hours a week on my writing. The spreadsheet was to help me track when I’ve done that. It also helped with the times when I felt like I haven’t spent enough time writing, since if I have the actual numbers, then I know. And when they’re low, I knew I needed to spend more time on it. Plus I love organized data.
I was still getting used to the idea and figuring out which things I was going to keep track of. By the end of January I settled on the basic DIY MFA sections of Writing, Reading, and Community with several subsections, and here’s the summary for the year:
Feb-April I was super on point, with hitting my 80 hours a month (20 hours a week) goal, with a solid 50% spent toward writing and ~25% ish toward the other two.
I was on vacation the first week of May and while I did some writing, I did not track the hours. The middle two weeks were less than productive due to making up hours over the weekend and then some depression.
June-August were Nationals as well as the beginnings of Nickel getting sick. I’m not really surprised that my hours plummeted. It was probably one of the worst periods of consistent depression I’ve ever had. I’m actually proud I got as much done as I did.
Sept and October are a little nuts. That is almost entirely due to the Writing Excuses Cruise. I chose to count the entirety of the time spent on the cruise on my timesheet, since I was technically there for my writing, but I didn’t want to spend time nickel and diming each little thing I did. This encouraged me to add an ‘event’ section to next year’s timesheet for things like writing retreats and conferences. Anyway, that retreat lit a fire under my butt for the next month to get the Huntsman draft done and do some heavy rewriting.
My November hours were curious to me, because I did NaNo, and I did it very well, but I had a sad dearth of hours. I think that since I had given myself the NaNo my goal, as soon as I had the words needed, I didn’t really push myself to do anything else. Two of my weeks were nothing but writing. Something to keep in mind for next year. Perhaps there’s a place between 50k and 90k that I can hit without burning out, or perhaps I just need to give myself two goals for November. There was also Thanksgiving travel, of course.
December was going great until my cat Copper got sick and had to be hospitalized for three days. That really killed the week. She ended up being fine, a known issue that likely flared up due to the stress of the new cat. I also did nothing while traveling for Christmas. Sort of sad to end the year on a down-swing, but such is life.
After looking this over, I’ve decided to take into account vacation time and ‘rest’ days (for sickness or depression) so that I don’t just look at my lack of hours and feel bad. I also noticed that overall, I am not happy with the lack of time spent on reading and analyzing what I read. I might give myself some sort of goal there.
I’m super excited to see what next year will bring. I already have the new timesheet made up, with some cool excel tricks to make the sheet itself less time consuming. Yay data!