Over the last five months, I’ve finally found the perfect tool to help me track my word count. Not in a “write it down every day” kind of way but real, honest data about my writing habits so I can capitalize on my productivity.
Up until now, I’ve had no real reason to track my productivity or my word count, but last year I made the goal to fully support my family with my writing income within the next three years. Not only does that take a lot more work, but it takes analyzing the work I’ve been doing and using that data to elevate my business (Elevate is my power word for the year).
So here’s what I’ve learned over the last five months tracking my daily word counts using Jamie Raintree’s Writing and Revision tracker.
I LIKE WRITING FIGHT SCENES
Kind of a weird piece of information, but I can tell you I write faster and more words on any given day if I’m in the middle of a fight scene. This means the first chapter of the book, the midpoint, and usually the ending when I’m writing the climax.
According to recent data on average, I write 2x faster (1000 words in an hour compared to 500 words in the same time frame) and about 500 words more in a single day if I’m strung out on adrenaline choreographing my fight scenes. I generally write about 1,000 words a day with my current schedule (my kids refuse to have naps/downtime TOGETHER), but when I’m drafting a fight scene, my output shoots up to about 1,500-1,600 words before they start pestering me.
Now, I’m not really sure how I can use this data to my advantage because I can’t be writing fight scene after fight scene in my books, but I definitely found it interesting!
I wrote 10,000 words in February of this year. That is…not even close to what I’d set my goal as. I felt January had been productive when I’d drafted this year’s reader challenge and started this current work in progress, but then something shifted. My depression started making it hard to get the motivation to open my laptop, and by the time I got around to tracking my daily word counts, I found I’d had more zero-word days or only a fraction of my goal than successful word count days.
I was productive in the marketing department though! I was able to reach every single goal I’d set for myself in Quarter One on my Kanban board. I just couldn’t get my head in the space I needed it to write.
In the future, I can actually use this data to structure my most productive months into my writing and release calendar.
I WORK BETTER AWAY FROM HOME
This might not come as a surprise, seeing as I have two small Demon Spawn yelling at me all day for every need that pops into their brains, but I’ve found I work much faster and harder when I’m in the middle of a coffee shop rather than seated at my desk. I don’t even have to have my headphones in.
I think there are a couple reasons for this. For one, I don’t get online (even with free wifi) as much as I do when I’m at home, and two, I know I only have a limited amount of time before my husband starts messaging me asking when I’m coming home. So I go to the coffee shop to write, and I try to get as much done in that small window of time as I can.
Unfortunately, this can’t happen every day or even every week, depending on the needs of my family, but when I’m on deadline, I can utilize the coffee shop or library more as panic sets in.
Have you tried tracking your word counts before? What data have you derived and could use for future productivity?