It’s that time of year again, writers. Time to set up next year’s word count tracker!
Writers have a tendency to do lots of “writing things” that aren’t actual writing, and in my experience this encourages procrastination. The popularity of programs like NaNoWriMo has created a cottage industry for writer tools and increasingly complex tracking apps and sheets. I am not a fan of elaborate word-tracking spreadsheets that have tons of graphs and charts and provide mountains of data for analysis.
I do think basic word tracking is important, however, especially for writers who have not yet trained their hands and mind to consistently type a certain amount of words every day. I have been writing a long time so I am at a stage where I can sit down and type out X words a day with no issue, or I could sit down and write 2,000 words in a sitting if the iron is hot, but I still think it’s important to be able to look back and see definitively how many new words I generated for any given project. When I’m in a slump I have a tendency to think I have done less writing than I actually have, so it’s useful to have a record of what I’ve actually done. I’ve found I almost always write more than I think I have.
This past year I used a very basic spreadsheet tracker. It adds up the total for each week, and then sums the month, and there is a space for a free-form project title. This is fine actually, but one of my goals is to get more serious about pushing through and finishing novels, so I added a project dropdown. If I reach a point where I need to know how many words per project I can set up a summary sheet.