Whatever you measure, make sure it’s the right thing…

Three months ago I wrote a post describing how I used a tracker to measure my artistic endeavours – and how I used the log as a way to justify that I was working hard, making progress, being productive. All the numbers looked good. Clever me.

The metrics were based on the number of projects I was able to work on in parallel – or the number of plates I could keep spinning at any one time. All of which encouraged me to add more to the list: surely five was better than four, six better than five? Although I didn’t realise it at the time, it was a case of ‘never mind the quality, feel the width’.

Very recently I have become dissatisfied with the time I’ve been spending on my writing (note, not on the number of projects but rather my dedication to them individually) and thus, by implication, the quality of the effort I was investing in them. The tracker told me twenty minutes gave me a tick in a box, and box-ticking had become what it was all about.

March being particularly hectic – so many boxes to tick! – allowed this issue to surface first as a nagging feeling which soon escalated into something more concrete. And then I realised I had been allowing my tracker to dictate how I was spending my creative energies, rather than making those decisions myself, consciously and in ‘real time’. I was spreading myself too thinly.

So my current log is on the way out; I have a plan to change the way I track what I work on, with a greater focus on the quality of input into fewer projects. Not only will this benefit my writing – which I fear may have been the primary victim over the past few months – but also my publication activities (and therefore benefit those other writers with whom I am working). This shift is surely going to be well-timed given I am going on a week’s writers’ retreat early in May…

Refocus, rejuvenate, kick-on!