I’m a big fan of stats and information. I love writing stuff down, compiling it, visualizing it, and while I wouldn’t consider myself obsessively organized, I can’t handle disorganization. Most of the documents I have on Google Drive are kept within four sub-levels of folders. My Spear Gate manuscript, for example, is under “Writing > Bigger Projects > Spear Gate”. The presentation I made for my senior project in High School is under “School > Homework > [Name of School] > 2014-2015 > AP English 12”. Yes, I could pull it up on a moment’s notice if I needed to.
One of my main folders is titled “Data”. I keep track of both information about myself, my writing, and the people around me. It’s not something I need. I could delete the whole folder in a heartbeat and never lose anything I would ever really miss. But having all these lists and numbers is something I like to do, because I’m a visual person.
I have a phone app that is something of a journal. Twice a day I tell it my mood and write a little bit about what I’ve been doing. Knowing how my activities affects my mood really helps me get a better understanding of what I enjoy, what tires me out, and what I can and can’t handle.
I had a tough time getting through this month’s Lisa Stenton. I’ve adopted a bad habit of intentionally procrastinating because I’ve (unfortunately) come to the realization that I can work more productively if I wait to the last minute rather than staring at a blank screen knowing I don’t need to work on it today. I did that with Lisa Stenton last night, and it took me about five hours to write the entire second half of the story. Not too shabby, because that’s almost 500 words an hour. But I wrote in my phone journal before and after I did that, and writing for that long made me exhausted. Maybe that’ll help me learn to write sooner than I need to, because I’m not eager to repeat that.
I’ve only been keeping track of my mood and energy levels for a few months, but I’ve already learned quite a bit. Something that surprised me was the fact that I’ll get a little tired before a big day or big event, and I’ll relax a bit afterwards knowing everything is over.
Another thing I’ve found that doesn’t surprise me is that I need to write in order to be in a good mood. If I do nothing but play games for a few days straight, I’ll feel a little down, because the knowledge of the fact that I haven’t really done anything will make me feel bad. So the best way to keep my mood up is to constantly write. Luckily, I’ve only skipped my 500 word requirement four days in February, and a few of those days I’ve written well over 2,000.
So it’s a balance. I need to write pretty much every day in order to feel productive and thus be in a good mood, but if I procrastinate and let it pile up (like Lisa Stenton yesterday) I’ll burn out and it’ll be way worse.
Moral of the story: keeping track of stuff will make you learn. And learning is always cool.