First Quarter(ish) Writing Check In

I should start with this: I can’t believe it’s nearly June.

I feel this way most years. January comes in like a lion and there’s all this writerly potential, I have all these designs to check in with my output each month, and then I look up at the weather forecast and it’s 90-degrees with a chance of stroke and I’m confused at where all the days went.

This year I devised a rudimentary pen-and-paper tracking system that forced me to answer a simple question each day: Did you write? If the answer is yes (outside of my professional writing obligations) the date receives a picturesque green X through its heart. It’s positioned to the left of my desk and therefore each day I must live with the consequences of my writerly inaction – if applicable.

Initially I was going to blog at the end of each month with my progress. Then I returned to the office in March and my schedule was all screwed up and I had plans for April but then I needed to finish an anniversary gift for my wife before we schlepped it across the country to Los Angeles and…you get it. Life happened and I just didn’t blog.

Which is funny. Because the whole point of this exercise was to encourage myself TO BLOG. I guess a leopard doesn’t easily change its spots (or something like that). So now you get Erik’s monthly quarterly 40% Year Gone check-in. It’s a working title.

MonthDays in MonthWriting Days in MonthPercent Writing Days
January31929%
February281139%
March311032%
April302273%
May23*835%
TOTALS1436042%
*Days in month thus far.

As you can see, thanks to a strong April performance I’m at 42% success rate. I’m fairly pleased with this number given I almost NEVER write on Saturdays or Sundays (four total this year, effectively limiting my max output to ~72%) and have had to find yet another writing block for days I go into the office.

The days have been generative, too. I finished a short story on Valentine’s Day and spent the next month on a second pass; April consisted entirely of outline work on a novel that I don’t quite have the confidence to write; and May thus far as been spent writing a new short story I’m on pace to finish before June.

I’d like to get a few more stories I have in my drafts folder ready to send to lit mags, but that’s a whole different post. Maybe I’ll get to it next quarter.

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