Website of Science Fiction Writer Ron Collins

Getting my act together

The Oregon Coast workshop kind of kicked my butt. Buy that, I mean it was more work than I had planned for, and as such it’s taken me a little mind-shifting to get myself back on my path. One major thing I took away from it was that as a new freelancer, I needed to stay very focused on how I was using my time. This resonates for me because while I’m being productive in this new life, but I often find myself wondering if I’m actually working on the “right things.”

I talked to a lot of folks at the workshop, and picked up on the fact that I am not alone in this issue.

Kris Rusch helped me at lunch one day by suggesting I think through the “leaks” that everyone has–that being time we find slipping away through the day that are not focused on writing production. Things like, uh, making blog posts [grin]. And several conversations with Matt Buchman were helpful in thinking through how to create a broader-based business plan focused on this writing thing. He also pointed me to a spreadsheet he uses to track his output. Spreadsheets being great, I immediately looked at it and decided I needed to make one of my own. So as of today I’ve got a daily tracker that rolls up information in weekly and monthly tables and lets me know both how I’m spending my time and how my production is coming (I split out creation of new words and a rough calculation of “rewriting” progress so that I don’t get myself faked out by counting rewriting as actual creation).

I even went back to January and roughly sketched in the data from that period. Sure, it’ll be “wrong,” but I’m just looking for a direction here. No one else cares, you know? It’s okay to be off, really it is.

I figure I’ll track this for a month or so, and then set targets.

I am, after all, a target setter, you know? I just do better when I feel challenged.

And speaking of being challenged, I know see I need to get some new words written now.


  1. March 6, 2014    

    That spreadsheet idea sounds really good. Was it difficult to set up?

  2. March 13, 2014    

    Yikes. Sorry I missed this, Brandon. It took a little work, but not terribly much. If you want a copy, drop me an email at and I’ll send it your way.

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