If You Want More of It, Measure It

Here’s your tip of the day:

What is measured, gets managed.  — Peter F. Drucker

I’ve seen this quote in a lot of places.  Tim Ferris uses it in both of his books, The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body. The idea is that if you don’t know where you’re starting, how far or what direction you’ve gone, you will never know if you’ve made any progress.  And if you don’t know if you’ve made progress, you won’t know if you need to make any course corrections or what kind they should be.

This applies to writing too.

It can take a long time from the first draft of the first story to get to publication.  A lot of hours spent in relative isolation, and if you’re lucky, with the encouragement of critique partners.  It can be hard to know if you’re making progress.  I recommend writing down what you do each day in pursuit of publication, even if it doesn’t seem like much.  “Wrote 1 page.”  “Revised 5 pages.”  “Blogged about measuring.”  Whatever you do is forward movement, even if it doesn’t seem like very much.  And if you can post it somewhere, or share it with others who will keep you accountable, that’s even better.  It helps keep us honest with ourselves if we know someone is watching.  The “observer effect” can be a helpful tool.  The mere fact that we’re paying attention and keeping records will change our behavior, usually in the desired direction.

A great many things in this life can’t be measured on a scale or a yardstick.  Friendship.  Satisfaction.  But for those things that can be measured, it can be very useful to do so.

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Filed under Life, writing

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