Sunday, August 7, 2016

Write Now! Series: Track Your Writing Progress

Write Now! Series
Track Your Writing Progress

Before we go any farther, I want to take a moment and mention the importance of tracking your writing progress. If you want to become good at anything, what do you need to do? Practice! When you are trying to find time to write, the best thing to do is to track your writing progress. I use two things for this: an Excel spreadsheet and WriteTrack. When you track your progress, you can see on which days you wrote and how much. By tracking your progress, you'll be surprised at how much your writing totals can increase, either weekly or daily.

When you are making your spreadsheet, set it up for how it works for you. Mine is very simple, but it works for me. Set up columns across like the screen shot below. 

My word count in the top right is 40,000 words for the month. That's not my overall word count goal for this book. My word count goal for the book is 90,000 words, but I was up to about 50,000 words when I started the month. 

Tracking your progress will help you to see how much your word counts have improved over time, whether it's by month or by day. Since I have been tracking my own writing progress, my word counts have increased considerably. Also, don't beat your self up if you can only write a small amount in a given week, or if you can't write one day. Hey, I'll be the first one to tell you that life happens. On days when you couldn't write, then shrug it off and pick up the next day with your word count goal. Later in the series, I will talk more about setting writing goals and setting up your own writing plan. (But do not let the talk of word counts overwhelm you! Stick with me!) :-) 

The next thing you will need when tracking your progress is a goal-setting program, such as the one used in NaNoWriMo. The one I use is WriteTrack. On months when I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, my word count always increased. This gave me the idea to start tracking my writing progress. Then, I needed a goal setting program on months when I am not participating in  NaNoWriMo. After doing a search, I stumbled upon WriteTrack ... and it's free! 

Once you register, read the directions for setting up a project. The beauty of this program is that you can weight each day according to the amount of time you will have to write on that day. For instance, on the days when you won't have as much time to write you can weight at 50, and on days when you will have more time to write, you can weight at 200. Normal days you can weight at 100. Once this information is logged in, it will automatically recommend to you how much you will need to write on each day to achieve your writing goal. 

But if writing daily isn't possible for you, just tracking your progress on a spreadsheet like mine above is wonderful! You can still track your wring progress each month and see how your word counts improve over time. But the most important thing is to write!

If you have any questions, please list them below. Join me tomorrow for the next installment when I tell you my writing plan. Happy writing! 

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