I don’t have a writing diary like The Daily Screenwriter.

I kinda/sorta used to. In the early days – a holdover from my old nine-to-five life – I used to have various spreadsheets that tracked the hours per day I was pouring into whichever projects. I don’t do it so much now.

What I still do – and it’s another holdover – is save each and every iteration of a script. Having been burnt in my formative wordprocessing years by M$ Word crashing and losing hours of work, every time I open a document, I immediately SaveAs and rename the file. No, I don’t rename it whatever strikes me at the time – I have a system. Here’s a typical filename:

081219  Bangers  script 2.1.odt

From the above, I can see that:

  • it was generated or amended (as it was in this case) on 19 December 2008 (“081219  Bangers  script 2.1.odt”);
  • it’s for my project, Bangers, a feature script about a socially inept butcher’s foray into adult entertainment (“081219  Bangers  script 2.1.odt”);
  • it’s the script document (sometimes it can be the pitch or treatment or general notes) (“081219  Bangers  script 2.1.odt”);
  • it’s version 2.1 meaning it’s on its first revision of the second draft (“081219  Bangers  script 2.1.odt”);
  • and I’m using open source, baby! (“081219  Bangers  script 2.1.odt“)

A directory listing of this file and its friends would look something like this:

081207  Bangers  script 1.9.odt
081210  Bangers  script 1.9.1.odt
081210  Bangers  script 1.9.1.pdf
081216  Bangers  notes 1.9.1.odt
081215  Bangers  script 2.0.odt
081218  Bangers  script 2.0.odt
081219  Bangers  script 2.1.odt

Yes, a directory listing for any project I’m working on can run into the hundreds of files.

Yes, it’s anal.

But it’s comforting. It’s more a paper trail than a writing diary, but it’s proof that I’m progressing, one document at a time.

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