One of my writing habits known among my writer friends at Forward Motion for Writers is the logsheet I keep. Call me anal-retentive, call me OCD, I keep a record of the dates, times, and amount of words I write during any particular writing session.
The picture is page two of my current logsheet for Brotherhood. As you can see, if you look at the very bottom, I’m almost done with the actual writing log entries on this page. The asterisks going down the right-hand sides of the first and fourth columns are chapter indicators; chapter count is on the first line in the Notes section—that set of 20+ tally marks. I’m keeping all of Brotherhood in one file and copy-pasting the different sections or books of the series into their own files as I finish them, but not marking them on the logsheet, primarily because I didn’t find the cut between the first two books until recently. The times listed are beginning and ending times—I try to start on any given five-minute mark—and I list them in military time because it’s less confusing to me than writing AM and PM after the times, particularly since I sometimes stay up all night and write in the wee hours. As I currently write, each set of times and the total (small) wordcount following indicate one scene written.
On the right, in the Notes section, you’ll see all my notes, including a total from two scenes written on the very top line, continued from the first page. In fact, this story has overrun the allotted notes section, and you can see where I’ve written more in around the outlines of the actual log area. I expect I’ll be dropping a few of these notes on the next logsheet; I generally copy all notes which remain pertinent from logsheet to logsheet so I don’t have to constantly shuffle through them to remember things. If you look close, you’ll even see the notes I’ve made in pencil on the bottom left and near the top left side, which are my “bookmarks” for read-throughs of Brotherhood and TPOM.
Most of the notes I keep on the logsheets are interim notes. There because I need them during a certain period of writing or to carry me through a number of scenes. There are some on this sheet, though, which I’ll be transferring to my permanent note files for the Empire Brotherhood is set in. The note on Pelau, beginning in the lower-left corner, for instance. That’s an important thing which may have some bearing on other stories in the world and location, because I do have lots of other stories planned for this world. I’ll also include the note about the Imperial Coat of Arms being a red hind rampant, because that may come up at some other point. I don’t, however, expect to put these notes in until I’m done the project and go through all the logsheets for this story. For now, it’s easy enough to use them for reference if necessary.
And so many paper clips? I use them to keep the pages from curling up at the bottom, which drives me batty.