They call me Chart Girl

One of the great things about those creative writing workshop classes was that they made you write, even if you didn't feel like it. Now that I'm out of school, I find it hard to create my own writing schedule, and even harder to stick to it. After a long hard think, I realized what part of that problem was about for me: accountability. In class, even creative writing, I had to turn in something even if it wasn't my best work, or I'd get a bad grade. The thing is, when there's no one to expect anything from me (except me), I discover that I am a big push-over and so I don't do my own homework. But then, I feel that awful guilt and uselessness that comes with not-writing; it's a very uneasy state of mind.

Then came: the chart. The objective: write one poem a week, even if it's crappy. By creating a physical log of my writing progress, I've made that accountability a palpable thing demanding evidence of time well spent. It's similar to the power of the list: crossing a to-do off of a list makes one feel that something has been accomplished or more-than-attempted. Granted, since I started this chart-keeping last May, I have met the required goal... well, every now and then. But even on the weeks that I don't write a new poem, I at least crank out a new fragment or add a few lines to an in-progress poem or revise something to be sent out for rejection. There are a few weeks that just have a line drawn through them because, well, life happens. But I can look at this chart (which is stuck to the side of my refrigerator) and see what I have done thus far.

I'd have to say that overall, this chart-business has been a success. I have been more prolific in the last year, than I have in all the other times I have been out of school (granted they were for shorter periods of time) and I'm also happier with the work I am doing because, despite the aforementioned objective, I find it hard to record the unworthy bits on my sacred chronological chart.


  1. You are indeed chart girl and a kick ass one at that. I have not overly jumped on your chart business, but mostly because I do have other homework. I will make it a goal of the summer, though.



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