How I track my words

photoSomeone in the comments of my Tracking Words post asked me how I do this. So I thought I’d take a second to write down my process. It’s a little anal. 😉

Every book I write is different and my process for getting started is always different but one thing I do that’s the same is I track my words on the first draft. This could also include editing, as well, since I tend to edit and write at the same time.

I have an iPhone so when I start a new book, I open the Notes app and start a new page. I name it whatever shorthand I’m using for the book title and then “tracker”.  Then I put the date. Then the total word count of the day. Sometimes I start a project without putting down word count and rather than try to reinvent that, I just start with whatever I have.

You can see an example of this in the graphic here.

I record my word count for the next day and then subtract what I did the previous day to give me the total words.

THEN because I’m super anal and want to track how many words I write in a week/month, I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of this as well. I plug in the daily word count and do the same subtraction to give me the total count for the day, then add up the daily count to get the total for the week and so one.

This is probably an imperfect system but it works for me and I can see what my progress is and how I’m doing. My goal is to write 5000 words a week. Sometimes I make that. Sometimes I exceed it and sometimes I miss the mark altogether. But it gives me a guideline of where I need improvement and pushed me to write faster.

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.