How Do You Measure Preparation?

I began work today in earnest on codename FUTURE after unearthing it a few days ago and blowing off the dust.

How funny-odd it is to come back to the blank page (or screen).  To a set of jumbled notes and thoughts and things ending in question marks.  To a pile of acquired flotsam that I will endeavor to turn into something that resembles a coherent narrative.

I remember a quote (that I cannot now find online; a fail for google and a fail for my own notes) that went something like:

You don’t learn how to write books.  You just learn how to write the book you’re writing.

The idea is that you learn to write the current WIP, but when it comes time to fire up a new one, you’re back at square one again.

And so far, it’s held true.

So I set about revising notes, asking questions and then dredging my mind for answers, and generally filling in breaks and trying to make connections.  I tried not to worry when I asked, “What does this character want?” and had no answers.  Instead, I just moved on to something else.  Right now all the characters are mere shades that should take form as I move along.

That’s the plan, at least.

I also did a bit of research this morning.

The work I did today got me to thinking: How do you measure preparation?  With an actual Writing Day, I can measure my progress in pages or words: I did x. X is good.  Y is better.  And Z is so awesome that I totally deserve a cookie right now.

But it’s harder to do that with preparation.  I suppose if I was writing a codex or other background works, I could measure the progress in words, but for the rest of this stuff that consists mostly of thinking and jotting and arrows and question marks, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of metrics.  I suppose I could measure in hours spent, but that fails to include daydreaming and coffee and petting the cat.

Which are all necessary parts of the workday.

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