Values or just fake numbers

Dean Wesley Smith often repeats Mike Resnick’s saying. “If you aren’t earning $500 per day, you are not having a good day.”

For the last month, I have really taken this advice to heart. I admit that I’ve modified it compared to the way he’s using it. I’ve been using it as a gauge for my creativity and balancing it with my job. I’ve gotten some interesting insights from it. It does help to motivate me, which if you’ve been following for a while, you know I find it difficult to find things that really motivate me.

Now, this has become really interesting to me. I’m not someone who is motivated by money. I rarely had an allowance; my parents tried, but it didn’t often work on either side. I started working on the ranch when I was 12 and rarely saw any money from that (not until college when I often had to bum my father for money, and something I now regret in hindsight). I write for years for only myself before indie publishing ever became a thing. I am much more motivated by fun and independence.

So, the fact that I would put numbers on my creativity and start to give it a monetary value in my mind, and that that would motivate me, is astonishing. I’ve been putting the numbers on a calendar and every day that I look at them, my critical voice likes to remind me that they aren’t real values. It’s like Monopoly money. Now, these numbers are based in real values, like what I can sell my art for and professional payment for words, so there is some intrinsic value in it.

But they aren’t real.

But they show me a pattern.

They also show me that I’m not at $500 per day. (Grin) Yeah, my day job alone doesn’t even do that. I find myself wishing I’d taken this into consideration years ago. During my great year off, I wish I’d paid closer attention to this.

Now, when Dean talks about this, he’s often talking about the value of his time in regards to publishing. Up until today, I was just keeping track of the creativity side, but I’ve decided to put some publishing items into this. (Read: Dawn decided to expand her spreadsheet because she’s a geek who loves playing with numbers and data.)

Yeah, I just went back to my spreadsheet to add in columns which will calculate the creativity, publishing, and total numbers so I can continue looking for patterns. I’ll record the total column on my calendar, but this way I will still have important data.

I know, there are probably people out there who think this is extreme, but it’s fun for me to see what I can do (even if it is just fake numbers – it gives me a scorecard (can I do better than yesterday, than what I did on this day last week?)). And I’ve been around accountants long enough to understand the saying, “What you can measure, you can manage.” It’s true. This is why nurses at the hospital show you a chart with different faces from smiling to crying when they ask you where your pain level is at. They need to measure your pain so they can manage it. Yeah, can you tell that that’s a true story?

I have myself set up to do a lot today, so I best get back to it.