WRITER – MUSE OR BOSS?
“Please! Don’t yell at me. I’m a writer. I await my muse!”
3 ways to track your writing progress
For many writers, keeping track of progress and improving productivity are big headaches.
Advice from the writing ‘gurus’ often comes down to a choice between options 1 and 2 below.
1 Time Trackers.
There are many apps to choose from and download but essentially they amount to traditional ‘clocking in’ and ‘clocking out’. More sophisticated tools enable you to show your scheduled time against actual time spent on different projects or tasks. Client billing is available if you run a business and visual aids like pie charts can help you to see the proportion of time spent on different activities.
TIP: CUT BACK ON SOCIAL MEDIA TIME AND ADMIN. SPEND MORE TIME WRITING AND MARKETING (SELLING YOUR BOOKS).
2 Word Count.
For many writers, word count is often the preferred choice. 500 words a day, 1000 for the fast, perhaps even more for the “Usain Bolts” of this world. Show your progress using a graph or a calendar pinned to a wall or board right in front of your eyes. No hiding place!
TIP: DON’T SET YOURSELF UP TO FAIL. START LOW THEN CHALLENGE YOURSELF
This is my preferred approach. I appreciate this will not be for everyone but it works for me. I write novels and I think, especially for fiction, it is necessary to adapt your method of checking progress according to what stage you’re at. For example, writing your first draft is basically about getting words on paper (screen). This is the stage where quantity matters – quality comes later as you rewrite and edit. So yes, I use word count and target 1000 words a day when writing my first draft. However, at the same time I track time spent (fact is I do this for every stage) – and set a target schedule of time each day. Keeping track of my ‘bum on seat’ time is important for me. This is particularly true for those stages in writing a novel where word count is not the main goal. For example the planning, rewriting and editing stages require a focus on quality and attention to detail – no mad rushing here, just getting it right. But putting in the hours is important.
So, that’s my approach – always track your actual writing time; make sure you work your scheduled daily hours. Drive yourself at the first draft writing stage, let your creative juices flow but get your raw material down on the page as fast as possible. Put your critic’s head in place for the later stages.
TIP: DO A HALF HOUR REVIEW OF YOUR PROGRESS AT THE END OF THE WEEK. PLAN NEXT WEEK.
How do you check your productivity, keep your writing on track? Be really interested to hear. Thanks,