Progress Reports in Excel
I don’t know, there’s something about us Red Personality types… we LOVE progress. I began this tiny side-project toward the beginning of the year, when I first started Demigod Diaries. I was also beginning to write a lot more often for this blog. Between these two blogs and writing for school, I felt like I had very little energy to devote to the novel. I began creating the Excel Spreadsheet as just a way to track my writing progress, a cohesive way for me to see it all at once. This many words on this day toward this project. Simple.
During Writing Bootcamp, I began adding alterations to track my overall word count. I also divided the columns between work done toward the novel and work done toward other writing projects. I wanted to track progress of any kind of writing, so that I could see how much energy I had devoted to the craft. The only thing I write and haven’t been counting is my free-writing sessions when I first get started, which for me is a kind of meditative journaling to music.
Today I realized something wonderful. I created an additional box to keep track of my average words per hour, and found that I have made leaps and bounds of improvement ever since. Boot camp was characterized by hours upon hours of staring at the screen with blood-shot eyes, broken by occasional sprints of up to 2200 words in an hour. I averaged 550 then.
As you can see, this week has gone significantly better, which I believe is owed to the shorter writing periods. You’ll notice that I haven’t stuck exactly to my writing schedule of 4 hours a day. I’m still striving toward that, but I am delighted in the progress I am making. I am finding that by sitting down to write, even if I only have 15 minutes, I can surprise myself with what I can get done in that time.
I also think that by doing short writing sessions regularly, I am establishing a good balance between writing time and thinking time, so that when I actually sit down to write the words tend to flow a little more easily. I already know what I want to say, partially because I’ve given myself the time to ponder it, and partially because it’s regularly on my mind (which just isn’t the case when I put off writing, waiting for that “day off” where I believe I’ll get a large chunk of writing all done at once).
So yeah. I like my Progress Report. And the fact that each week gets progressively better.
Lesson? Frequency Wins.