On Keeping a Writing Log

One of the biggest problems I’ve found while playing this writing game is the actual writing bit. That is, sitting my ass down and blending some fine Irish word whisky. To that end, I’ve started keeping a writing log. A writing log, you say? What, oh you magnificent Shakespearean word smith, does this writing log entail? Well, I’ll tell you.

A spreadsheet.

Click to enlarge this bad boy

The real benefit, I’ve found, of doing this is I actually get to see the progress being made, day by day. Or lack of progress, as the case may be. Regardless, my word count churn out has increased significantly since I started keeping track of just what I’m accomplishing each day. This all comes back to another key I’ve found that unlocks my awesome and devastating writing ability–set a word count target, and stick to that word count target come hell or high water.

Plan to a point – then just start writing. The best, most well thought out plan in the world does not a novel make. I enjoy having written, I don’t so much enjoy the writing part. At least, not always, so have a solid target. Treat this like the work it is.

Commit to a daily word count based on your lifestyle/schedule. A 1,000 words a day is not unreasonable. If you have a solid enough plan, that could be hammered out in 30-60 minutes. Consider that at a 1,000 words a day, you’ll have an average sized novel in two months. That’s worth the commitment.

Or, if you can, 1,500 words a day. 2,000. Have a target, sit your ass down, and don’t get up until you’ve met that target. Hardest part about writing a novel is finishing the damn thing.

You won’t know if it’s worth your time until it’s done. What you produce may need scrapping. But it may not. Or some of those words may carry over into another, better story, which benefits from what you learned the first time.

You’ll make mistakes, we all do. But finish – don’t give up or switch projects. Finish. A bad finished novel is worth more to you than a dozen half-finished manuscripts.

And keep a log of your awesome progress.