1. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    Keeping track of your progress

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DK3654, Mar 14, 2019.

    One of the things I've found most helpful in me actually getting somewhere with my WIP is an excel spreadsheet I created that breaks the story down, chapter by chapter, scene by scene, based on current wordcount, which I continually, regularly update. I've found it's actually quite motivating, and not intimidating, to review my story progress in this hardline way. It makes my progress feel more meaningful.
    Before I started writing my WIP, I would have thought this sort of technique would hinder me, that I shouldn't focus on the numbers but on the story itself. But I've found since that just keeping going actually helps me figure out what to do better than when I try to figure out what to do before I get going. I think it reduces the time I spend overthinking things, when really I already know what to do. I still like to have a good idea beforehand with each scene (that's just my style I guess), but this way I don't worry about whether I know everything, I find it easy to focus on small steps forward, and looking at the spreadsheet actually helps me figure it out.
    I also use this spreadsheet to review the breakdown of the story between the different POV characters, the average chapter length, and how far I am from the rough estimate of the final wordcount. I can also plan the breakdown of scenes ahead of where I am before filling it in. Using excel formulas helps with all this. Watching the wordcount for the total, the chapter, and the character, all tick up automatically is quite satisfying- "just 100 more words until I hit 3,000!".

    So I was interested in finding out how my fellow members keep track of their progress with their WIPs? Do you just check the wordcount occasionally, or do you do something more complicated like this? More so even? What works for you and why?
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I use the progress journal here to note my progress (or occasionally the lack of it)
     
  3. marshipan

    marshipan Active Member

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    I suppose Scrivener does that for me. Can open up any scene/chapter and the word count total is at the bottom. Can also set an overall word goal and see my progress towards it with a nice progress bar. I'm still in the trial but I will no doubt purchase it. The organization has been immensely helpful, and having a "note card" that gives a small description of the scene goals... it's a game changer.

    I also keep a Progress Journal here, like big soft moose. It helps for collecting my thoughts about the process and having someplace to share my word count.
     
  4. XRD_author

    XRD_author Member Supporter

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    Scrivener does a great job keeping track of my word count. But ever since the revision pass I did that was solely dedicated to reducing that word count, I stopped viewing that as a measure of progress.

    The total word count for book 1 has been yo-yoing around 180K for weeks. Some days up, some down.
    But my gut tells me I've made progress in that time, and I believe it.
     
  5. Intangible Girl

    Intangible Girl Member

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    I write my daily word count on the calendar I have hanging by my desk. I also note down milestones like 'first draft done' or 'third draft started.' It helps give me a broad sense of how much work I've done at a glance, and keeps me from skipping too many days and leaving blank spots. Total word count I see every day when I check my daily word count, and it's fun to watch it go up, but once it gets into the five digit range it stops meaning anything to my brain.

    My progress journal here is more about leaving a record for posterity (well, for future me, anyway) than about accountability or keeping track. I write it to remember how hard it was to achieve each of those little numbers on the calendar.
     
  6. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    So what goes into that for you? Do you just check the wordcount occasionally? Do you set yourself goals?
     
  7. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    I haven't tried that application. Sounds interesting.

    Yes, I like using a progress journal as well.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I just note my daily word count, I don't set word count goals although I generally write between 1 and 2k a day
     
  9. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I usually track progress by the chapter, not word count. I'll think, "Oh, I got halfway through chapter 4 today" as opposed to "I wrote 2400 words today. I'm a data nerd so it's kind of out of character for me, but word count has really not meant much to me unless I pull out something amazing and unusual, like a 6000 word day.
     
  10. Cephus

    Cephus Active Member

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    I put together a simple Excel spreadsheet to track my daily word count. It also calculates how much longer it will take to finish my novel at my daily word goal of 7500 words per day.
     
  11. Zombie Among Us

    Zombie Among Us Member

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    I like updating my friends and girlfriend on my progress. Saying the word count to someone seems to make it feel more real and complete. I also have a little digital notepad that says my start date, my current word count, and how far I am through to my goal for the first draft (50,000 words). I update the notepad every couple thousand words, but I check my progress quite often. I use Google docs and it tells me how long the whole document is, or just a highlighted part.
     
  12. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Senior Member

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    - I keep some kind of working log in my computer. I write down books I read to develop myself as a writer, small part of videos I watch for studying writing and thinking. I write down seminars, lectures...
    - I keep progress journal here.
    - I pay attention to the amount of my writing and what effects it and how.
    - I try to control my stress hormone levels by at least some physical activity.

    My main goals are not projects but my working process, skills, knowledge and the amount of work. I think that if I can get my writing to the level of 120 - 150 pages a month, my studying to the level of one book about writing or thinking a week, about 10-20 hours of video studying a week, few hours of live lectures now and then, some networking... then books and/or scripts will follow.
     

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