John of MindonFire.com recently equated word count to XP (that’d be eXperience Points in gaming parlance, not the Microsoft product.) I loved the idea of writing as part of a game, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Personally I’m still kind of fixated on time as a measure of progress – not time dicking around on Facebook when I’m supposed to be writing, of course, but the actual time I spend working on a story in some capacity.
So what if your max XP was ten thousand hours. What’s the level cap? Let’s say it’s 20. That’s 500 hours per level.
I wonder what level I am, how many hours I’ve put in over the past seven years.
Today I went over all of the projects that are on my mind right now, the things I am doing and want to do in the next few months. I decided to do work estimates on them, just for kicks, to see how many hours it would take to get them done, but also to see how many hours I’d get out of it toward that goal of ten thousand.
I came up with about 225 hours.
The sheer number of them was a little overwhelming and I needed to prioritize them.That was hard, until I started looking at them in terms of what part of ‘my writing’ they affect. I came up with categories, and then it all fell into place. Here is the result:
(A larger, more legible version can be found here.)
Those categories are New, Public, Career, and Commitments. The Commitments column is for my volunteer stuff. I have three different organizations I do stuff for now. I never know when it’s coming or how much time it will take until it’s been assigned, but once it’s been assigned it always takes priority.
So what with the day job, kids, social life, and sleep, I think I will probably need until March to finish all of that.
I also plugged everything into Klok, and made sub-projects out of each of the things that need to happen before I can call any one of my index cards ‘complete.’ If this all seems like making too much work out of it, I can assure you, this isn’t work, it’s fun. I need to see progress, because I don’t feel it. All around me my writing friends are succeeding in ways that I am not – that’s just part of the deal, and I don’t begrudge them a moment of it, but I need a way to keep myself buoyed on the hard days, because the hard days come.
I figure if I get to ten thousand hours and still haven’t sold anything, then I can give up. Fortunately that is a long way away.
*This was the old EverQuest verbiage whenever you gained a level in a skill. Not quite the same thing as leveling your character, but the wording always amused me. I am seriously considering adding an XP bar at the bottom of the cork board. Everything up there doesn’t quite gain me half a level. :)