One of the main reasons I keep track of how many hours and words I do per month is to reassure myself that I really do deserve to be on disability. (I’m not actually measuring “progress”, because real progress comes in story and development). I know, that sounds crazy, but when a vast majority of people around you believe that sick people on disability are lazy and/or draining the gov’t’s money for no reason, then you have to reassure yourself that you’re not like that. You have to prove that you actually can’t work, be hired, or make a living on your own.
I generally don’t have a problem with being disciplined, getting stuff done, and so on. My procrastination demon is a little, minor-nuisance guy. So when my productivity is low, it’s low for a different reason.
For an example, let’s look at the numbers for May and June.
In May, I worked on Queen of the Eight Banners 11/31 days. This means that on the other 20 days I was either feeling too poorly to write or I had to use my main source of energy to do something else instead. I worked on Andromeda 9/31 days. Some of these days overlapped with Queen, some did not. I generally write in the afternoons and work on Andromeda in the late evenings, after I’ve had some time to recuperate. I clocked 7.5 hours (over 11 days) on Queen, and most of that was plotting and meta-work because only 1k got written, but I’m not worried about that because there were some very difficult scenes to figure out.
In June, I worked on Queen 11/30 days again, and I clocked in 10 hours. I’d managed to figure out how things should go in May, because I spent most of my time in June writing, and I got 5k in. Unfortunately for Andromeda, I only managed to work on it 3/30 days, which is more disappointing but I’m also doing a much harder task for me now–bilingual edits.
July? Well, the only thing I’ve managed to do in July is this blog. My family was here on vacation the first week–which took a lot out of me–and this second week I’ve been helping friends prepare for a novel-workshop and critique. The third week I have free, but I have some library books to finish and some alpha-reading to do which I’m behind on, then the fourth week I’m gone to attend a family wedding.
This is all compared to what my productivity used to look like, which was – I originally translated Andromeda in two months. It’s taking me years to do what I used to be able to do in months. I used to be able to write 2k a week on my novel while going to school full time and having two jobs. Now I’m lucky if I get 2k done in a month.
So you see, Mr. Disability-skeptic? I legitimately need help. I wrote a short story in an hour and a half once in March and threw up directly after and spent the rest of the day in bed, because I just wanted to get it done no matter what it did to me.
But yes, clocking in time, keeping track of days, words, these things help me breathe easier. They also help me look back and smile: I won’t let this get me down. My dreams will come true.