About Tracy Durnell

Seattle-area graphic designer and SFF writer inspired by the Pacific Northwest, crafting a sustainable and intentional life.

Staying on Track with a Monthly Review

I’ve appreciated other people’s monthly reviews, and am going to try out my own to help me stay accountable with my goals other than writing (as well as writing). In the past, I’ve tried to do mid-year or quarterly check-ins on my annual goals, but that feels a bit too intermittent, and easy to forget.

Structuring My Monthly Review

To start, I’m structuring my monthly review based on the priorities I identified for myself in my annual review process:

  • Creatively productive
  • Healthy habits & routines
  • Active lifestyle
  • Comfortable, sustainable home
  • Strategic spending & saving

For each priority area, I’ll assess how I did the previous month with a combination of tracked statistics and narrative evaluation. I’ll discuss my tracking tools and processes, then identify gaps and challenges that are holding me back from meeting my goals. Last, I’ll evaluate what I can do the next month to improve, whether it’s a new tracking method, a new technique to try, or a new habit to develop.

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Weekly Novel Progress: Week of July 10, 2017

Writing Stats for July 10-16, 2017

  • Starting word count: 144,583
  • End word count: 141,703 (removed outline docs, existing chapter 13 and prologue)
  • New words written: 2,048
  • Scrivener hours (per Rescue Time): 6 hours 45 minutes
  • Editing hours (estimate): 2 hours 50 minutes

status updates for the week

So close, but still not done with part one!

  • Revised Chapter 15
  • Wrote new scene for Chapter 13
  • Edited most of Chapter 5 (on paper)
  • Rewrote Chapter 9

Writing Practice

Gave the new coffee shop another shot, with the addition of biking there :) Also went to another writing meetup that I hit a few times a year.

Still need to figure out where to write on Thursday afternoons. Attempted to do a smidge of work at the local library but it’s not a comfortable workspace and I wound up writing emails instead.

work Plan for Next week

  • Outline and write remaining scene for Chapter 6
  • Fill in small gap in Chapter 15
  • Revise Chapter 10
  • Write remaining scene in Chapter 13
  • Review outline of Part Two

It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This: Becoming My Own Advocate

I have a tendency to accept annoyances — in my health, out in the world, and in relationships — as just the way things are. Many of us, I think, grow complacent about trivial irritations, from allergies that get a little bit worse every year to potholes in our neighborhood. I’ve been learning that I can’t expect anyone to advocate for me — but I can, and should, advocate for myself.

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Weekly Novel Progress: Weeks of June 26 and July 3, 2017

I’m combining two weeks of writing updates since I was on vacation over the Fourth of July weekend :)

Writing Stats for June 26-July 9, 2017

  • Starting word count: 148,210
  • End word count: 144,583 (cleared out some outline docs and unused scene)
  • New words written: 3,509
  • Scrivener hours (per Rescue Time): 6 hours 30 minutes (RescueTime was apparently not connected for five days, so this is an underestimate)
  • Editing hours (estimate): 1 hour

status updates for the week

  • Wrote last scene in Chapter 8
  • Wrote last scene in Chapter 11
  • Wrote Chapter 14
  • Revised Chapter 2

I’m very close to finishing part one!
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Weekly Novel Progress: Week of June 19, 2017

Writing Stats for June 19-25, 2017

  • Starting word count: 148,059
  • End word count: 148,210
  • New words written: 1,433
  • Scrivener hours (per Rescue Time): 3 hours 49 minutes

status updates for the week

  • Wrote scene in Chapter 8

Writing Practice

I found out this week that my favorite coffee shop, where I go to write at least one and sometimes two times a week, is closing. Tragedy! And also, catastrophe for my productivity! I get the most writing done away from home, and the coffee shop was my most productive location :( For my group writing day, we’ve picked another coffee shop in the next town over to try out, but that’s definitely not convenient for my weekly afternoon writing session.

I get very little writing done in my home office, and I’m not sure whether that’s due to being at home or disliking the space. (Usually as soon as I hop on my desktop computer, I find myself paying bills or catching up on my feed reader.) I’m considering how I can change my space to make it somewhere that feels more conducive to working. I’ve got the wall taped off for a fun new paint color, but I might also move the desk location.

Trying to get back into the habit of doing Pomodoro’s… I mean Cuckoos…

I’ve joined on with another group writing spreadsheet with some others with 500 words/day goals. I don’t necessarily feel the need to write every day, but an average of 500 words/day would be nice. Generally I’m focused more on the amount of time I spend writing, shooting for 10 hours a week of writing or editing. It’s been relatively motivating to participate in, although I have it pop up (via RescueTime) after I’ve been working for half an hour, so if I don’t do any writing I don’t get that negative feedback ;)

work Plan for Next week

Carrying over the work plan from last week… Next weekend is a long holiday weekend, and I’m planning to go camping, so I may be able to get some more revision done (and less writing).

  • Write last scene in Chapter 8
  • Outline and write remaining scene for Chapter 6
  • Write Chapter 12
  • Revise Chapter 2
  • Revise remaining two scenes in Chapter 10