I haven’t felt like updating here in last week or so, due to various issues going on right now. They’re not super huge issues, and they’ve mostly been resolved for now, but once I was in that funk, I didn’t really feel like writing about writing here. I didn’t think I had anything relevant to say about writing. I am an unpublished writer, working very slowly on revising her first novel, and don’t even have a critique partner. What could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said before and better?
Yet, here I am again. I came out of the funk last afternoon, and today I decided to do some hard thinking about a blog series that’s been rattling around in my head for a while now. In my previous life I was a scientist. You might think that has nothing to do with writing, but some of my most valuable insights into the writing process come from my scientific training. There’s quite a bit to learn about writing from the way that scientists approach their work, prepare it for publication, and react to reviews and criticism. I’m planning on calling it “The Science of Writing” and have several posts I’d like to do. I could have also called it “Write Like a Scientist”, but since most people think that scientists are dry as day old toast, I didn’t think that would sound too appealing.
For other future blog posts, I’m also planning on posting more about the local plants and animals that appear in my novel. I’m trying to integrate as much of the local setting and stories as I can in my novel in order to have a very strong sense of place in it. So I think it would be fun to have pictures and a little bit of info about all the unique flora and fauna we have around here.
But the real question is, how’s the book going? It’s great to plan all this for the blog, but what’s going on with the book. That brings me to one point I did want to make about writing in this post and that has to do with accountability. In order to track my writing progress (and keep myself accountable), I track all my writing progress in an Excel sheet. Each day I put in the daily word count, calculate the total word count, percent complete, and I also keep track of the average daily count for each week. For each week, I have a target goal for my average daily word count. I like keeping track of the average, because that way, if I have a few bad days, I can make it up on other days and still feel good about staying on track for my target.
Last week, thanks to the funk, I missed my target for the week. There were three whole days in a row that I didn’t write. However, thanks to my super anal Excel tracking, I knew by the end of the week that I had averaged 1000 words a day. Not close to my goal, but still impressive.
And that’s the real value of tracking my words everyday. So that even when I have a bad week, I can go back and see that it really wasn’t that bad and not get thrown off by a few days off.
Onward and upward for this next week!