Calendar of Goal Tracking 2012 wrap-up

December 31, 2012

 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Since it’s the last day of 2012, I thought I’d take down my Big Bang ‘Calendar of Goal Tracking’ to see how I did. (I took pictures of every page, though, to share with you, though it’s a little hard to make out the letters from the photos.)

Some overall thoughts:

  1. Counting hundreds of little letters from a calendar is hard! I’m sure I’ve made some counting errors, but I’m not worrying about 100% accuracy tonight.
  2. This has really been a good experiment for me, and a great way to motivate myself to do time-slices, especially for things like exercise and cleaning that I have a hard time motivating myself for otherwise.
  3. There were quite a few letters missing that I was able to work out from other evidence, including several R’s, one E in March, a D on a Sunday in November when I know I went to a write-in, and so on.
  4. I’m definitely going to try something of the sort for 2013. Since I’m trying to save money where I can, and I got a decent looking ‘Muscle cars’ calendar free from the oil change shop, I guess that’s my goal tracking calendar for next year!

Details about the goals I tracked:

  • B for Blogging: I marked a B to indicate a day that I posted a new blog post 297 times. This seems low compared to my WordPress.com annual report, even taking into account that I never went back and updated the calendar for the 2 weeks I spent in Kansas (and at Polaris, the weekend after I got back from Kansas.) I suspect that several times, I did a blog post last thing in the evening, went to bed, and never went back and marked my B.
  • C for Cleaning: I got 166 Cs for a timeslice of at least 20 minutes cleaning, tidying, or organizing things around my apartment. Occasionally this was a double C in a single day, if I was feeling exceptionally cleanergetic.
  • D for Driving. 197 days got the letter D for days that I drove, either driving practice before I passed my licence, borrowing a family car, or just driving in Ghost once I’d bought my own car.
  • E for Editing. I have 251 of the letter E marked in the calendar for working on my own editing. 50 of them are in March, where I was using one E to indicate one hour logged for National Novel Editing Month. Otherwise, it’s any significant amount of time, at least 20 minutes or so, one E per day.
  • L for Losing.  Each letter L represents a half-hour time slice of walking around outside or other cardio exercise. Could be double Ls in a day. I got 335.
  • Read the rest of this entry »
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K is for Know your Story.

April 12, 2012

The Script Frenzy A-Z so far…

Good morning, all. I just have one Script Frenzy article to share with you today – Know your Story.

This little word of advice comes from Greg Marcks, and it’s about outlining – which I’m not doing that much of myself this year, but Greg makes a good case that putting in planning time before starting page 1 of your screenplay can save you problems down the road.


Calendar goal tracking update!

January 21, 2012

So, I’m not sure how many of them you can make out, but I’ve written in one hundred and twenty-five letters onto my calendar for the first 21 days of the year. That’s nearly 6 goals achieved per day. Whoo-hoo for me, I think that’s pretty darn good work.

I’ve also added one letter to the ones that I was originally tracking. Since practicing for my next driving test is something that I want to make time for, I’m giving myself a D for every day that I go driving, and I’ve written that in retro-actively for every day that I’m completely certain that I had a driving session. (Including the day of the road test.)

The calendar proudly proves that I am over 20 days for my writing and reading chains, (well over, actually, since I’m continuing chains from 2011,) and I just hit 20 days for a chain of posting a comment to at least one other blog every day, since I started on January 2nd. 🙂

One other item of note is that I haven’t gotten an ‘O for outlining yet.’ I’ve been procrastinating on my goal of brainstorming ideas for a new short story, and ‘The scroll’ has been ticking along pretty well based on the plans I drew up in December. But the O’s time shall come, mistake me not!

(And once again, I can only write in the B for today’s post after taking the picture.)

How are your new year’s goals doing after three weeks?


Outlines

April 18, 2011

O is for…

For a lot of years, I was very much a ‘Pantser’ in terms of my writing, and have the very long and rambling Roswell fanfic manuscripts to prove it. Recently, I’ve tried to outline in more formal ways, including trying the snowflake method with Nanowrimo last year, and the Blake Snyder beat board with Script Frenzy, which is working out quite well.

I used to think of my usual ‘writing by the seat of my pants’ approach as a way of taking a journey – whether walking or driving, but trying to get to a particular destination, and possibly visit certain landmarks along the way, but without a map or a planned out route, just a vague notion of which direction I’d find my goals in.

Outlining, so far, isn’t like scouting out the path ‘boots on the ground’ beforehand – it doesn’t have that same sense of immediacy that actually writing does. But, depending on how I approach the outline, it might be like working out a plan with a map, or on Google Maps, or even scouting out the territory in a helicopter ahead of time.

I haven’t made up my mind whether it’s always better to outline in a structured way, like with the snowflake method or the Blake Snyder approach, or more intuitively, just trying to write the storyline out in bullet points, (perhaps working back from the ending.) Maybe both approaches have their points, depending on the situation.

Either way, outlining is a pretty cool way to prepare for a writing trip, and I think that I’m going to keep experimenting with it, in more detail and trying out more approaches.


Going down the Snowflake, part One.

October 11, 2010

I’ve been wanting to prepare a bit more than usual for starting my National Novel Writing Month piece this year, and a few days ago found an article for the Snowflake method and decided to try it.

The snowflake method is an approach for developing a book idea that starts with a very simple premise and then adding more detail to it – analogous to building a snowflake fractal by adding more triangles pointing out of each line in the earlier design. This idea appeals to my sensibilities as a computer programmer – it’s what’s known as top-down algorithm design in the software field, starting with a statement of the goal and then breaking it down into steps and substeps until each element is trivial to implement.

So, here are the first two layers of my snowflake design:

Step 1: (One-sentence summary)

A dead man, sent back to Earth to do the Angel’s work, falls in love with a living girl and runs away with her.

Step 2: (One paragraph summary, 5 sentences)

Richard is sent to Buffalo by Angels to stop a chemical explosion from going off at the University. In the process, he meets Jessie, and infatuated with each other, they decide to run away once the job is done. The head angel, James the Elder, tracks them down and tells Jessie that Richard has more missions to do, and that he can only stay on Earth by taking somebody else’s body. James switches to another body, a coma victim, and works another mission, unaware that Jessie ‘met’ the true owner of his first body, and likes him too. In the end, Richard has to figure out if he must leave Jessie, fight for her, or let her make her own choice.

 

Not perfect yet, but that gives me an idea of where it’s going. Step 3 is short character sketches, and it’s probably the point at which I won’t be including the full results here in the blog, but I’ll do my best to keep you all informed of how it’s going.


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