Tuesday, July 31, 2007

'Treadmill' Journal

I've been checking out old copies of The Writer from my library and I read an article that I really liked. In the April 2007 issue, Gregory Martin describes how he keeps a treadmill journal of his writing. He argues that writing is a lot like exercise - you need to do it everyday to get in good shape, you should track your progress, and you should plan it into your schedule. This is why he calls it a 'treadmill' journal. I really like this idea and I think I'm going to start keeping one for myself. He outlines the 5 different things you should include in each day's entry:

1. Date and Time Record-keeping matters and it is important to keep details in your journal. "Good writing depends on habit." I think this is true - I find that I do better work when I'm consistently writing every day. It's like my mind gets the regular exercise it needs and can create better.

2. How long will you work This aspect organizes your day and helps you resist the urge to quit early. If you set yourself a specific time, you will get more done.

3. What you plan to work on Martin counsels us to be as craft-specific as possible. Pick a specific aspect to work on so you can stay focused. Feel free to work on something else if it comes up, but be purposeful and aware.

4. How it went When you're finished, take inventory. Think about what you've accomplished.

5. When you will work tomorrow and for how long If you decide before tomorrow, it's more likely to get done. Keep your momentum up by trying to write every day.

I like this journal idea because it gives structure to my writing time. I can set goals and then report to myself on how it's going. Being fairly new at this whole writing thing, I think this will help me make writing a priority in my life.

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