I write. Like, a lot. I’m not at Hamilton levels yet, I procrastinate way too much for that. But I’m always working on a novel. Or two. Or three. I spent years at the beginning of my writing journey just floundering around the process, trying to remember what I had just done, or what I needed to do next when I revisited a project, and more than once I completely forgot exactly what I was doing. So I started tracking my writing progress for each of my projects, so I knew exactly where I was at any given time.
I track my writing in two main ways. First is with Scrivener itself. I love using Scrivener, and while I don’t fully utilize all of its features, (and trust me, there are a lot,) the ones I do use work well for my writing process.
It has this handy little ‘outliner,’ view which lists all of your sub-documents within a folder and all of the attributes you’ve given them. They all get labelled ‘to do,’ before I start, and when I finish a certain scene or chapter, I’ll re-label it as ‘first draft.’
A quick look in this view will easily tell me what I have completed, and what I still need to do, which keeps me on track.
Next, is my project time tracker. It’s fairly simple, with just two columns; one for the date, and one for what I did for that project on that day.
This is my favourite way to track the progress of my writing journey, and is so useful if you want to learn more about your writing routines.
This tracker gives me a great insight into how long it takes me to complete a draft. How long does it take me to plan, outline, redraft and revise. It lets me see what my most productive days were, or when I took a break or where I seemed to struggle. Things I can use to make helpful changes to the way I write which will benefit me mentally and physically in the future.
It can show me when burnout hits, when I work less or more, and how motivated / productive I am during the weeks. From there, I can figure out what went wrong to avoid it in the future. It can also help to build towards habits and routine, if you’re into that sort of thing. Plus, it’s great for those working on multiple projects. You can keep a tighter track of which projects you’re spending a lot of time on, and tell you where you left off after you spend a lot of time away from one.
In 2022 I intend to take this even further. My initial aim was to record every single part of the writing process- brainstorming, outlining, drafting and beyond, but my habits quickly settled with just recording the actual drafting phase. I’m planning to go back to my original tracking- every single step, as part of my goals for next year.
What ways you do you track your writing progress?
I’m going to guess spreadsheets.
Good thoughts and happy writing.