If you know anything about Ninja Writers, you know that I have the privilege of working with somebody who is very analog-minded.
Shaunta is the queen of analog, and for years, she’s been sharing her tools with thousands of Ninja Writers. FRED, dockets, daily organizers, daily logs, her analog PDA, keeping notebooks on top of notebooks for tracking various things. For the last three years, I’ve been seeing rave reviews, emails from Ninja Writers who’ve gotten themselves organized thanks to Shaunta’s tools.
And I’ve tried them and they just . . . don’t work for me. I’m not an analog person.
This isn’t millennial snobbery. This isn’t me praising the digital revolution and shunning anything that’s written on paper like a heathen. I prefer actual books to ebooks. When I’m in a class, I always take my notes by hand (at least, initially). I even write most of my poems by hand before I type them up.
I’m not a digital snob. It’s just that, here in meatspace, I am terribly unorganized.
That notebook I’m supposed to be writing in every day this year? It’ll probably be lost by February. It’ll definitely have vanished into the ether by June. That FRED folder I’m supposed to be using all month? It’ll probably be torn, scuffy, or just plain lost halfway through the month.
My work area is organized chaos. The organized part of that phrase is only slightly sarcastic.
Compare that to my Google Drive, which is where I keep all of my digital stuff. Perfectly organized into folders and sub-folders and sub-sub folders.
It’s organized. It’s good.
But I wish I had the same success with analogue things.
So the trick for me — that I use with varying success — is trying to copy some of the things that Shaunta does with her analogue tools in an online space.
Today’s task for the Ninja Writer’s 31 Day challenge is to keep a daily log. So I’m starting with that. I’m doing that here on Medium, in a format similar to the one Shaunta did for two months — a sort of narrative post describing my day.
It’s a little more in-depth than the log writers are keeping on their FRED, but I’m also writing it as a post for public consumption. So I’ve got to put on a little of the old razzle-dazzle.
For some folks who’d like to try a digital solution that isn’t public, I’d also recommend keeping a Google Doc or a Google Spreadsheet. Impossible to lose, easy to add to. For a while, I tried keeping my reading list there. (I’m now actually trying to do that analog, in a cute Hogwarts journal I got for Christmas. I’ve read so little this year that the journal might last me to my 40s.)
The thing that I’m trying to remember, above all, is that this is supposed to be a helpful tool. A way of reminding yourself of what you’ve done. A way of keeping yourself accountable.
It’s not supposed to get in the way. It’s not supposed to be a pain in the ass.
It’s supposed to keep you going. It’s supposed to keep you productive.
Here’s to more productivity from me!