Back when I worked as a librarian at Lorillard Tobacco, my supervisor (Hi Larry!) had each of us on his team submit our list of accomplishments at month's end. It wasn't a "big brother is watching" tactic but more of a way for him to keep up-to-date on what we were doing.
I fell in love with this practice. Hello, it's a list, right? I kept a sheet of paper on my desk and just jotted a quick bullet point every time I completed a task. A lot of them were minor things that never made it into my report to Larry but there was still a huge satisfaction in looking over the list and thinking, "Hell yeah, I got all that done."
I recently decided to readopt this practice. I think it was Blair coming home one day and innocently asking, "What did you do today?" I knew I'd done something, I just couldn't put my finger on what, exactly. Writing for a living means I may spend time mulling through an idea or writing something that I later decide is garbage and end up chucking. I spend time working, but quantifying what I do can present a challenge. I was also more than a little concerned that maybe I really wasn't doing anything. Time to get clear.
So for the last few days, I've kept a piece of paper on my desk where I jot down tasks, small and large, as I complete them. Big ones for this week include completing my Author Profile and sending it to my editor, as well as editing a friend's book proposal and writing a newspaper article for the Rockingham County Arts Council upcoming 2nd Annual Artist Open Door Studio Tour that I'm chairing. Smaller accomplishments are updating my author profile on Amazon and landing a writing assignment for Catster.com.
The best thing for me is that keeping a list makes me want to add to the list. This principle holds across the board. If I keep a list of books I'm reading, I read more books so I can write them on the list. If I track my exercise, I want to exercise more to show something for each day. So here's hoping keeping a list of writing accomplishments will encourage me to, you know... accomplish things with my writing.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to add "Wrote new blog entry" to the list.