Workable #17: Measure What Matters

Every minute practicing your art is a minute you spent getting better.

Workable #17: Measure What Matters

Last week, we thought about process goals. I want to extend that just a little bit further. One option available to you is a process goal centered on word count.  Some people are good at doing this. Stephen King, for example, in On Writing talks about his daily word count being 2,000 words or more.

But we have to remember something important…

King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (available via bookshop.org) is a must-read for anyone practicing the craft of writing.

Stephen King is one of the best writers on the planet. He has decades of practice under his belt, and he also has the time to build his working day around his writing practice. If he needs to take four hours to get to that word count, he might be able to do that.

Most of us, however, are not in that position. Most of us have day jobs.

For most of us — creatives who are trying to practice while also working eight or more hours every day — I suggest you move away from a word count goal and toward a time-based goal.

I can find time in my calendar: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, maybe even 60 minutes.

If I orient my goal around scheduling writing time and measuring how much time I spend writing, then I’m controlling the controllable. Sometimes, I can rattle off 1,000 words in 30 minutes. Sometimes, though, 30 minutes may yield only 200 words, 100 words, or less.

Rather than tracking how many words you’re writing, track how many minutes you worked and celebrate them! Even if it’s just 15 minutes, that’s 15 minutes more than you worked the day before.

Adopt this mindset:

Every minute practicing your art is a minute you spent getting better.

If you must produce a measurement for your success, then measure what matters: time spent practicing your craft.

A room full of clocks
Photo by Lucian Alexe / Unsplash

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