Writing

Midweek Check-In and Thoughts on Tracking Productivity

Okay so this latest leg has been a bit slow.  I only got 153 words on Sunday because I was tied up with other stuff and didn’t know what to do with my scene.  Monday I declared to be a reading day wherein I went over all of Act 3 from the Midpoint to the SPP (which is what I was stuck on).  I finally figured out how to fix my totally blerg scene that took me forever to write last week.  I realized most of Elodie’s actions were fine, it was her motivation that was wholly unbelievable.  So the 252 words necessary to fix that is all I got on Monday.  Yep, that’s right…only 252 words to totally change a scene from blerg to…well not BLAM but better.  Reminds me of this post by Jami Gold on how small changes can make a BIG difference.  And yesterday, I finally picked back up a bit with 965, which was as far as I got before hubs got home from work and we spent the evening working in the yard getting things mowed, weed-eated, edged, blown, and planted for the new pictures our realtor will be taking in a day or so.

I’m still on target to finish around August 15th.

Susan always laughs at me when I’m writing a book because I have my productivity spreadsheet to track everything I write over the year, but I also have all the nice pretty charts and tables produced by Write Way Pro, which gives all kinds of nifty numbers like your average daily word count, your actual word count, the number of words you have to write per day to finish by whatever date you choose, the date you’ll finish if you keep on writing at whatever your current rate of production is…  These are things I often tend to get wound up with.  She’s much more a “it’ll be done when it’s done” kind of gal.  I like to plan and project and organize.

I know, you’re shocked by this.

When I first sat down to start writing Red, I anticipated being finished by end of April.  I expected it to be a 75k novel at the time, and I was averaging a nice 650 words a day.  This was an improvement over 2010 (the year of hubby’s leg break) during which I actually wrote fewer days than I didn’t (171 writing vs. 194 not writing) with an average production of 605 words on days I wrote.  I was on SCHEDULE, and I had all kinds of plans of getting it out in May in time for summer, putting out Riven right behind, and Revelation in the fall.

Obviously here it is coming up on the end of July and I’m still writing Red, which is coming out closer to 95k.  But I took a moment last night to actually count up how many ACTUAL days I have been writing on Red.  I was surprised to see the total come out to 117 days.  With an average word count of right around 650.  A lot of life stuff happened on all the not writing days (all 75 of them, which I am trying REALLY hard not to look at as 48k missing words).  And the writing of Blindsight took up about three weeks.  So even though we’re 2 and a half months past my original deadline, I’m still producing the book with right at the same amount of effort/production I expected back in January.  I found that kind of interesting.

What about you?  Are you into tracking production and scheduling things?

16 thoughts on “Midweek Check-In and Thoughts on Tracking Productivity

  1. I would like to say yes, I like the idea of having that structure and at least the illusion that you can give yourself of a deadline, but my life is far too hectic to do anything other than write when I have time and hope for the best.

  2. I can’t ever track my production too closely, because I find myself getting discouraged if one day’s word count is lower than the previous. I also try not to schedule things too strictly, because when things happen, I feel guilty for pushing writing aside.

    Still, I do try to make time around the same time every day for writing (usually in the late afternoons) and I strive to write at least somewhere between 500 – 1K words. But super close tracking? Nope.

  3. I like the idea of the structure, but I could never pull it off. I don’t even know how to be that organized, lol. It’s a bit hard for me to track my #ROW80 goals that closely because I’m editing, so things are a bit mucked up. Although I’m also rewriting, which just irks me but has to be done.

    Good for you for keeping such a good pace and getting things figured out. So glad you’re still on track with Red!

  4. Way to go, Kait! You’re still having great success.

    I’m kind of in between you and Susan when it comes to planning and structure. I love spreadsheets where I track my word count and my book sales. But I’m a little more laid back when it comes to the actual writing. If I get too bogged down with this chart and that table, I lose the fun of the writing. I DO need to keep a better character sheet, though. I do way too much looking back at things.

  5. I’m definitely a “tracker”. Loving the charts in Write Way, they have worked better then anything I had designed in Excel. (Thanks, by the way, for bringing Write Way to our attention).

    I still keep a hard copy list of daily and weekly word counts just in case of severe computer malfunction.

    Great post, Kait!

  6. You are certainly organized with all those statistics! I use the old fasioned method of multiplication…ha! But that’s because I write out my stories longhand. I know, almost unheard of, but i like the slower pace that handwriting requires. I think about the word as I’m penciling it on the paper…. I’m pretty sure this a left over of my days in school, (ahem) before computers were there…..lol. I’ve been tempted to purchase the EverNote/Scrivener – or download One Note – I’ve heard such terrific things about them….but because I insist on doing my writing the stone age way…..I’m not sure I would utilize all those fabulous features.
    Have a great week, Kait! ~ Nadja

  7. I love visualizing the progress that I’ve made, so I’ve been maintaining a chart to show the progress that I’ve made with each WIP. I also like seeing how my overall output has shifted over time, so I keep one of those charts as well. I’ve been using the free tools over at the Writer’s Database (writersdb.com), though it sounds like Write Way might be a better bet. Still, I try not to stress out too much if I haven’t made my daily word goal, since I don’t have any strict deadlines to maintain.

    Enjoy the rest of the week!

  8. Yep, don’t look back, look forward. Freezing up on the past is never good news.

    On the other hand, getting stuck on the present isn’t always bad. I’m a firm subscriber to some of the beliefs I’ve seen from writers whereby they allow their subconscious to “chew” on a scene. Sometimes it really is helpful to simply “sleep on it” and let your creative brain do it’s thing. That’s one of the reason I’ve seen suggestions to have multiple irons in the fire. Get stuck on one, work on another and let your brain chew in the mean time. I’ve done a bit of that, and I’m constantly surprised at how well it works.

    Also, because I’ve found I fail at anticipating how long something will be, I tend to be more in the camp of “it’ll be done when it’s done.” It’s not for lack of trying to type A my way through life, though. Creative brain rebels against plans and logic, it seems. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Thanks for the link, Kait! I have no tracking for my writing. I often wonder if I should, if I’d be more productive if I did. But I hate obsessing about numbers so I tend to avoid anything that organized. 🙂 Someday, though, I might have to go that route.

  10. I just know that I have to write every day for 2 hours. Sadly, that is all I have for time right now, especially now that it is summer and my Monkey is home. I’d be scared to know what I’m really producing, but the manuscript is about 75K now. I’m more concerned that when I am done, it might actually suck. I suppose once you have been published some of that anxiety might be reduced. (Or maybe not. What do I know?) Nice to find you. 😉

  11. I think I would crazy if I tracked it that closely – I would probably get all caught up worrying about the days that I missed and end up writing even less 🙂 (kind of like once you start analysing how many people check out your blog and then you find yourself logging onto your computer just to check the dashboard!!) Will definately have to check out the link though… thanks

  12. My production right now is abysmal. Not happy and I need to figure out a way to get some more words out. The problem is, the words are RIGHT THERE, but this third trimester stuff is taking it out of me, for sure. So no more 5:30 am wakeups, and on top of that, my son’s naptime has started being taken up by MY naptime. hahaha

    Good luck with your goals and kudos for being so ultra organized!

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