Let's talk about progress trackers.
For two years, I've used calendars to track my daily writing activities. Writing. Editing. Submitting stories and query letters. I've even marked networking on occasion.
For 2021, I'm trying something different. I'm using a grid to look at a variety of activities--not all writing related. Since February was the first month that had a substantial amount of writing.
Let's take a look at what that means.
I'm including a large image here for transparency and clarity.
First, Exercise. Guess where the blizzard hit on this chart? It was either Feb. 14 or 15 and kept consistent barriers in the way for a full week. Most of this activity came from using ankle weights as I took care of regular tasks.
Reading (for other writers). I've been bad about this. I owe my best friend more feedback on an interesting cyberpunk novel. My Ideal Reader is going to have me read her scifi in a month. And I just joined up with a new writing group (online, of course). I read an entry a day before our first meeting. I also reviewed that material and more on the day of the meeting.
Website! That's not just posting things like this. It's also taking care of any administrative needs (*coughRussianSpamBotscough*) and setting things up for my newsletter. Social media does not count for this.
Outline. This line is blank. January's version is a solid line. I'm keeping this here so I can try to fully plot and draft two books this year. Tracking when/if I outline should help that goal.
Edit/Revise. This is me cleaning up older material. Usually short stories, but a new pass through a novel would count here too.
Artistic. Drawing. Painting miniatures. Sculpting Maggott's maggots to use for HeroClix.
Submissions. Just like I described before. If I send one or more stories/novels, I mark the box.
Self-care. Any active relaxation or recreational activity. It can be artistic. It can easily be video games, going to a movie. Playing HeroClix or X-Wing.
Patreon. I need to work on this.
Writing Sprints. Any dedicated period of writing new material. This month, that's The Tower Of Humanity, a grimdark/near-apocalyptic fantasy. It's about a drunken innkeeper in a dying world having to confront the monsters of her past and her royal heritage. This might be the most intimate, character focus I've ever written.
Wait, there's more.
I can use this to track how many writing sprints I do in a given day. By adding daily word counts, I can learn even more.
By now, you've seen that blank column on February 20. All I did that day was gaming. HeroClix in the afternoon, board games at night. That was a Saturday. From that, you can see my worst day of the week is Saturday.
Sunday recovers. That's thanks to a pair of hosted Zoom write-ins I try to take part in. Monday is better because I get my momentum back and I attend another Zoom write-in late in the evening.
Tuesday starts slipping. I have Apex Writers Zoom calls. I've also sat in on M. Todd Gallowglas's Twitch Gallowclass. I also try to watch my friend Jonathan's Twitch streams on Tuesday and Wednesday.
One cannot improve without seeing their weaknesses. Now I know where I have strengths and weaknesses, I can plan accordingly.
Hopefully, you can do the same.