Accounting for Myself

I want to try an experiment.

I wanted to blog more this year — it was a resolution, you may recall. I also want to write more, to garden more, to do projects with my kid more — basically, to do more of everything except playing video games. I want to play fewer video games.

I’m constantly resolving to do more things, and equally constantly failing to keep up those resolutions (to wit: more blogging). I tried bullet journaling. It was great, it made me feel crafty and productive, and I stopped doing it after a couple of months when keeping the journal itself became the kind of chore I needed to set time aside in the journal for.

But three things happened recently. The first was that I read C.’s post about using her bullet journal as a log rather than a planner, and I thought, Holy profanity, what a great idea. Look how tidy that is! My tidy-sense is tingling. Then, second, I was reading my darling Mary’s journal and thinking how much I admire her … accountability, I guess? The fact that she’s able to itemize the things she gets done daily, point to progress as she makes it. And the third thing was that I was commiserating with some other writer pals about the fact that a lot of the writing work I do — real, necessary work, the planning and plotting and research and so on — happens so much in my head or in the background (pages and pages of amorphous notes, index cards jotted unintelligibly in the middle of the night and strewn around my desk, long brainstorming walks and sudden breakthroughs) that it doesn’t feel like work or concrete progress. It’s not a thing I can point to like, for instance, I wrote 1,500 words today. Sometimes it’s just, I took a walk and thought about it and realized why [redacted] is resistant to [redacted], and how that conversation with [redacted] should go.

But that is work, it’s work without which the writing doesn’t happen, because so much writing — for me, anyway? — is head-work, not word count. And I wish there were a way to quantify that better so that I didn’t spend so much time moping about not getting any writing done when in fact I had two plot breakthroughs and learned how fermented horse milk liquor is made. (Look, it’s relevant.)

So anyway all of these things fermented (like horse milk liquor) in my brain and I realized that what I want (à la C.) is not a plan but a record. Both to credit myself when I deserve credit and to keep track of what’s actually getting done and what isn’t.

I have ADD, and I don’t know if that’s why — as C. speculates for her own part — I am Not Good at things like keeping planners and making elaborate schedules for myself. (I seem to make to-do lists mostly for the purpose of losing my to-do lists.) But I do know that the prospect of having to account for my time and actions after-the-fact is pretty motivating for me in general, with the added benefit that it doesn’t require any kind of advance planning or preparation: I have to do the thing, first, and then I get to say I did the thing.

So anyway, that’s the new plan (she said, a touch ironically). I’m going to try to use this blog as a regular — a few times a week, if not daily — check-in, just to report what I’ve been up to, Mary-fashion. It may be news on writing and word count; it may be rambly notes on the research rabbit holes I’ve fallen down or the plot-potholes I’ve filled in. It may be some terse bullet-points. It may just be pictures of gardening or baking projects. But in any event, there will be more regular noises of some kind over here, and hopefully they will form a catalogue of my various species of productivity.

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