How do you measure productivity from a writing standpoint? If one is getting paid to write, I suspect payment and follow up offers of work would be a good barometer. What about the vast number of would-be scribes who are not employed to write – most of us – who write for the love, the practice and because you feel compelled to? How do you judge your output? Is a blog a day a lot? Not nearly enough, if one has delusions of being a writer of any note? Or is it all just procrastination, a way of avoiding the actual kind of writing – scripts, plays, books – that one ought to be focusing on?
It is probably, depending on why you write, all of the above and a bit more. In the world of blogging, I suspect there are as many reasons as there are bloggers. Not every blogger wants to be a writer, even if by blogging they inadvertently become one. Some are more sporadic than others, writing more streams of consciousness than subject focused blogs. There are many a diarist as well. For these types of bloggers, I suppose the volume of output is not especially relevant. If you’re just emptying your head, twenty words might work one day and two thousand the next.
Approaching it as a discipline, a task that must be done daily, as I do, it takes on a different significance. I like to try and write at least six hundred and fifty words, that is my minimum requirement. I have occasionally gotten really into a flow and ended up nearer a thousand, but the six fifty mark is my benchmark. It is an arbitrary figure with no reasoning behind it except that most of my blogs tend to run about that length.
With something like a script, it is much harder to quantify what constitutes a good daily output. Depending on the scene, with a rough guide of a page being one minute of screen time, two pages can feel like an absolute triumph. Because of the specificity of a script, or any kind of storytelling, you cannot, generally, just write and hope. Story structure dictates that there must be some purpose to each and every paragraph or direction.
Writing opinion is relatively easy in comparison to storytelling. In that way, blogging is definitely my procrastination, as it is more a conversation written down than a structured piece of writing. It is definitely a good practice, forcing me to come up with stuff to write about that is related to the blog’s title subject matter. I still know that I am just avoiding – delaying – tackling several works that would be closer and more beneficial to my goal of becoming a screenwriter and filmmaker.
The thing with writing as a profession, as opposed to blogging, is you have to get it right. With a blog, regardless of your following, you can write whatever you feel like and get it out there, no filters, no edits – though of course I do edits and proofread, still end up missing stuff! – no rigid structure. People will read it or not, but it will still be, in effect, published. If one wants to get paid for one’s writing, not only should it adhere to recognisable structure, but it has to be good, better than what a potential reader could write and entertaining enough for the prospective employer’s audience to want to read.
The initial question of productivity is not so relevant when viewed in the context of who the output is for and to what end. Writing regularly
Writing regularly every day is a good and necessary practice. Whether it the right approach for what one might one to achieve is down to the individual. For myself, the gnawing feeling of not doing the right sort of writing – both book and screenplays remain in limbo – is enough to tell me that it is, in a roundabout way, the best approach for me at this time. Hopefully, I am pretty sure it will manifest in a sudden urge to write one of those long waiting works.