One of the things I believe that helped me to finish my first novel last week was momentum. By this I mean that I made sure to write something in the novel every single day from the day I began writing the project to the day it ended. Even if I only wrote 128 words in a day (my lowest) or over 4,000 words (my highest), I wanted to make sure that there was some sort of progress made.

I also think that keeping track of my progress is what really helped me keep the momentum up. In order to keep track of my daily progress, I created an Excel file.

Word Count

Pictured above is a screen shot of said file. In this, you can see that I am working on a shorter project with a goal of only 19,450 words. This is not an arbitrary number, but designed because I am planning on submitting this work, and one of the submission guidelines is that the piece must be other 17,499 words. 19,450 allows me to delete up to 10% of the first draft and still be above the 17,499. I also keep track of the number of words per chapter, as well as the number of words written per day and the average words written per day. These show up in the line graph on the bottom right with the red line being my current goal of 1,500 words per day, the green line being the average, and the blue line being the daily word count.

The bar graph on the bottom and the pie chart on the top right are different representations of the same thing: the number of words written compared to the total goal. Then the line graph in the center is the word count per chapter. Then there is a separate page in Excel where I keep track of my daily word count over the entire project instead of just for the week.

I believe that making this really helped me keep the momentum up, because I had the external reward of seeing my daily word count cross the red line for the goal, as well as the internal reward of doing something that I enjoy.

Does anyone else have a method of tracking their progress? If you do, please talk about it in the comments.

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