How often do you sit down and write? Do you have a word goal? Page goal? Chapter goal? How do you keep track of these measurements?
Keeping track of your writing productivity is a great way to see your progress daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly as a writer. Using a basic spreadsheet can assist you in keeping focused on your writing goals and be a great motivator. It makes it much harder to write “0 words” when you can see the word count achieved daily.
Avoiding the Zero
If you have difficulty sitting down to write, give yourself a simple word count goal: 100 words a day. You may scoff and say that’s simple, but you should have no problem sitting down and making it happen if it’s easy.
Did 100 for a week? Great. Up it to 250. Then 500. Then 750. Eventually, you’ll hit what feels like a comfortable maximum, the amount you can easily do without too much trouble.
Once you reach that number, you can always write more, but now you are at a comfortable and productive daily count.
What Counts as Writing?
Your word count doesn’t have to be you sitting and writing a novel. It can be writing a blog post, an email, or a newsletter; anything that involves writing can be included in your daily word count. The key is to sit down and WRITE SOMETHING.
So, if you write 500 words of a short story and write an email to your sister that’s 500 words, you’ve hit 1,000 words for the day. Awesome! Want to write more? Go for it!
As I said above, you can create a spreadsheet to track your daily word count, but you can also keep track in a journal or on a legal pad. Some writing programs will also keep track of your writing stats.
From Tracking to Habit
Eventually, your desire to keep your word count going daily will become habitual, and you may become more productive as a writer in the long run. Comic Jerry Seinfeld uses this tactic and has recommended it to others as a way to keep writing consistently and get better as a result. Check out the link to the article below about “The Seinfeld Strategy.”
Sometimes a visual representation of our progress is a great motivator and can help us stay focused on our present and future goals. By keeping track of your writing progress and holding yourself accountable, you will write more and improve your writing skills in the long run.
Two books that offer up some great writing productivity tools are linked below:
Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!