Archive | 2016

We All Celebrate the Light and Need to Honor the Dark


Bright Solstice Everyone! This year, the solstice is today, December 21, and marks the start of Yule; Hanukkah starts on December 24, Christmas is December 25 and Kwanzaa starts December 26. The solstice is typically December 21 or 22, but since 1900, Hanukkah has coincided with Christmas Eve or Christmas Day only 7 other times […]

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Writers Who Don’t Track History Are Doomed…


Okay “doomed” might be hyperbole, but ignoring historical tracking data impairs your ability to correct what’s not working and reinforce what does work for you as a writer. Tracking your Product Time not only keeps you on-track this week and this month, it gives you the long view you need to identify patterns and trends […]

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Fact-Track Your Writing: Tricks of Tracking #4


While journalism, done correctly, requires facts, facts may seem secondary in poetry, playwriting and fiction. But when it comes to tracking your writing, all genres are equal: you must focus on facts. Detective Joe Friday knew how to track: Focus on facts. When you track your writing progress, keep your attention on two facts: “This […]

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Track Your Way Out of Writer’s Block: Tricks of Tracking #3


The old saying “Ready, set, go!” won’t work for writers who want to track their way out of resistance and into satisfaction and success. Instead, you need to Set your intentions, Ready the resources and Go track yourself. Set Your Intentions! They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but the road […]

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Tricks of Tracking: KISS


The second trick of tracking for writing success is KISS: Keep It Simple and Seen. The system you use for tracking needs to be simple, quick, easy to use and readily accessible. It could be a chart with gold stars on your office wall, a legal pad on your desk, a Moleskine notebook in your […]

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Tricks of Tracking: #1 Track the Right Stuff


How do you measure your writing progress: Word counts? Critical due dates? Action steps taken? I track Product Time, that is, the amount of time I spend doing anything necessary to move a writing project forward. Here’s why. For a week, I’ve been revising and reworking Chapter 61 in my novel. The daily word counts […]

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Even If You Don’t Write Everyday, You Need to Track Everyday


Even if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, you don’t have to write every day. But, NaNo or not, you need to track your writing progress everyday. Even the days you don’t show up. Especially the days you don’t show up. Note to NaNoWriMo writers: I know the suggestion that you don’t have to write 1,667 words every […]

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If It Works for Stephen King, Shouldn’t It Work for Me?


Writers often look to famous authors for role models. We assume that whatever routine works (or worked) for a famous writer should work for every writer. If Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, 365 days a year, every writer should write 2,000 words a day, 365 days a year. The problem is that what […]

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Deep Work, Deep Play: Writers Need Both


For writers, extended time without distractions and competing priorities is a pleasurable necessity; without it we cannot enter the writer’s trance, aka creative flow. We want and need what Cal Newport defines as Deep Work: “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.” In Deep Work: […]

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How Hemingway Made ‘Attention Residue’ Work for Writing


Ernest Hemingway certainly never heard the term “attention residue,” but he knew how to make the phenomena work in favor of his writing. You can, too. In case you didn’t read the previous post, “Don’t Let ‘Attention Residue’ Derail Your Writing,” and haven’t heard of “attention residue” either, it’s what distracts you when you sit […]

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