Saturday, November 23, 2013

I Keep No Metrics

You can tell from the photo, which is about the total level of metrics-keeping I do, that I'm probably not a spreadsheets girl or even a daily word count girl. I also couldn't tell you how many words I deleted, revised, never wrote, dreamt about writing...well, you get the idea.

When I saw this topic for the week I thought uh oh, I'm gonna have to use my Get Out Of Blogging Jail Free card because I'm so unstructured in my Muse and I just write. We try to sit in this chair here at my greatgrandmother's desk every day and work till the bucket of creativity allotted for any one session by the mysterious Forces of the Universe have been exhausted. As others have said this week, I can only write so much in one day and then no matter how well the story is going, I have to wander off and do something else to recharge. I might be able to write more later in the day, but that varies.

I admire the Mistress of the Spreadsheets, as I love to refer to my friend Jeffe, but I can't even aspire to fill the cells of one sheet row as well as she does! Not when it comes to tracking and planning the writing of novels....but her approach works for her. (If you haven't read her new erotic holiday story Five Golden Rings, get thee to Amazon! Or wherever you like to buy sexy, hot books...)

Not measuring is sort of my approach to everything in life, I think. I'm not a plotter, I don't pay too much attention to how many miles are on my car, for example. I was a bit surprised the odometer had hit 80,000 miles...then the service manager told me I'd somehow managed to set the dial to kilometers, not miles. Oh. I think I just don't like measuring anything. I think deep down I feel doing that impinges too much on my freedom. Don't fence me in! I'm world renowned for practicing magical thinking about difficult topics like how far the paycheck will stretch or what the credit card balance really is, often with varying results.

Now in the day job we do have key performance indicators and things we measure. I'm a NASA Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, which is all about process improvement through use of measurement and statistics. I can persuade myself to happily go along with the protocol there, because that's just one of the aspects of contributing to the robotic exploration of outer space. Gotta measure. I even maintain - gasp - spreadsheets! (And I do keep a very large, very detailed spreadsheet of all my expenses as a writer because that makes my CPA happy and when she's happy, filing my tax return goes a whole lot better LOL.)

Yet somehow my novels get done. My stories set in Ancient Egypt nearly always end up being 40K or 60K. My science fiction novels end up at 80K. I don't plan this, I certainly don't "write toward" this...just happens. So maybe my Muse has a sidekick who does pay attention to the word count?


  1. wait - you skipped over telling us what the pink, green and black on the calendar mean!

  2. Cute post :)
    And of course it would kill Jeffe to not know what your color code means!! ha!

    1. HEY!

      I can live without knowing.

      Pretty much.

  3. Ooh, maybe I should keep it a sekrit then....I can barter the information for something someday mwahahahahaha.