Image from Dreamstime
I don’t know if I’ve posted about it before, but just over a year ago, I started tracking how and on what project I was spending my writing time. This includes everything from research/development, to editing, to critiquing, to career research. My ultimate goal is to get to 2,000 hours written total, which is the point at which one is considered “proficient” in a craft. 10,000 hours of work means one is a master. Given that I’m at 1626.5 hours to date, I’m close to proficient, but far from a master.
Another benefit of tracking is that it’s ended up teaching me a lot about how and when I work and where I spend the bulk of my hours.
On August 13, 2012, I completed my first year of tracking. In that time, I have:
- Done 118 hours of research and development (including outlining)
- Spent 185.25 hours on first drafts
- Spent 45.75 hours editing
- Written over 195,000 words
- Spent an average of 6.7 hours/week on writing or related tasks
Of those hours, I spent:
- 208.5 on novels
- 34.5 on short stories
- 34.25 on critiques
- 18 on blogging
- 16.25 on my April Screnzy graphic novel
- 6 on flash fiction
- 31 on other writing related projects
I think it’s pretty obvious that I need to spend a little bit more time editing, so I expect to see those numbers creep up over the next year. I also want to start spending more time on short stories (which kind of means that I need to start writing more of them), although I am generally pleased with where I’ve spent the rest of my time.
I was a little surprised by the total number of words and especially the weekly hourly average, given that it was about 5 hours/week a few months ago. Clearly I’ve gotten that much more serious in the last few months! It’s interesting to see how I was rather slow the first few months, but that quickly picked up in the months that followed.
Theoretically, in less than 400 hours (about a year at my current rate) I should be close to ready for publication. That is and has always been the ultimate goal, but I think that a little more dedication, much like I’ve been putting in recently, will really help. Of course, the time I put in can only do so much – it needs to be quality time too. And that’s the real struggle, isn’t it?
How do you track where you’re at with your career?