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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tracking Productivity

When you're working on a WIP, sometimes it can be useful to keep track of how much you are progressing. This is especially true when setting word count goals. There are a number of different ways to track progress when drafting.

The easiest is to write down what the word count on your document is before starting a period of drafting and then again at the end. This can be difficult to remember to do, however, especially if you're anxious to get started on a scene.

When I used Word for writing, I would change the text color to red at the start of a writing session and then, to see what my word count for that day was, I would just select the red text. This works well if you remember to change text color before you start writing and then remember to change it back to black before you start another session.

Some programs have functions that keep track of session word count on their own. Scrivener does this and allows you to set goals that it lets you know when they are met.

Once you've figured out how to track your daily word counts, the next step is to decide how to record them, if you wish. You could use Word or Excel to record them. I keep a simple Excel sheet with the days of the week and a column for me to input word count. It's also set to auto-sum so that I can see my weekly word count. At the start of each week, I clear off the records from the last week so I can start with a clean slate.

You can also use more advanced worksheets, downloaded or created on your own. I used to have one that had a new sheet for each year, a box for each month, a column for each week, and a cell for each day. It requires a good level of dedication to remember to record the word count for each day, however.

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