At the beginning of long projects, the end is, by definition, a long way off. Motivation can be an issue. One of the ways I stay motivated is by seeing progress. One of the ways to see progress is by breaking a project down into small tasks that can be checked off.
But in the case of a radical revision, as is also the case when I’m beginning a novel, it’s all too nebulous. Which is the way it should be at these points–nothing too formed, nothing too hard and fast, anything possible. If you add to that an unpredictable work schedule, before you know it, it feels as if nothing is happening. Then depression, malaise. And nothing really will be happening.
I avoid all of the above with a calendar.
At the start of the project, I go to this website and print a calendar–you can get 12 weeks at a time. Any day that I work on my novel, I check off. The days become small tasks just lined up and waiting. It’s exciting. I look forward to making that checkmark.
I don’t log minutes or hours worked. My theory is I’m just trying to keep the momentum going and create a space in my head for the project. If I miss a few days, I can still see at a glance that I’m chipping away at it–making progress. I can also see, ah hem, if it’s been too long without working on it. Which means it’s time to somehow MAKE IT HAPPEN.