One of those bits of advice that I begin with the greatest of intentions but never follow through on is the idea of tracking my writing in a spreadsheet to figure out when and where I am the most prolific.
I SUCK at this.
The only time I'm ever able to record my writing on a consistent basis is NaNoWriMo, and even then, I only get the word count, I don't get any other information about where I was writing, or what time of day it was. Since I'm working on new habits and consistency, evaluating where and when I write best will be great information to have about myself. I kind of have an idea on this, but concrete evidence to back up my theory would be nice.
Not to mention the fact that wanting to write "more" this year doesn't mean shit if I have no idea how much I wrote in the years prior. (And I seriously have no clue.)
So when I read the passages about tracking writing in The Miracle Morning for Writers...again...I realized I should shut up and figure something out.
I've tried a few different techniques over the years, so I thought I'd share some of my failed attempts, almosts, and gonna try nexts. They all kind of meld together, so here are my Top 3.
1. Put it in the Planner
I've been on a planner journey, and whether it was in my bullet journal, my traveler's journal, my Happy Planner, or a random notebook I deemed worthy of the job, I have used lots of paper in trying to figure out what works for me.
The most successful I've been included a few week streak with a sprinting buddy. I sectioned off one of the daily boxes in my Happy Planner and left it specifically for words. I wrote how long we sprinted for, and how many words I got in that time. Since we were racing, it was easy for me to take the total I reported in with and jot it down.
My problem was in that I didn't write every day. I broke the chain frequently, and that pretty little writing section sat blank and ate away at my soul.
2. Excel Spreadsheets
I've created a few of my own excel sheets to track my writing. I love Excel and enjoy fiddling with the equations to make pretty graphs, so I was always able to enter totals with these, but again, the where and when weren't part of it.
If you've never made your own sheet, I found a blog explaining it by author Ava Jae. She does a much better job of explaining it than I ever could. So check out her blog.
I also found a great looking chart made up for you with lots of tracking and time management and calculating capabilities. She's charging $10 for the file, but if you want to download and not deal, you might check out Jamie Raintree's tracker on her website.
I'm a tinkerer, so I'd probably try and customize someone else's template and screw it up anyway, but the options are out there.
I haven't been able to stick to this, because I tend to give myself a set amount of time to write, and then have to book it to the next place I have to be. Opening up another document and jotting down more info after I've just written to the point of my brain is oozing out my ears, isn't something I keep up with.
That being said, I'm still going to try and set up one today. I'm thinking of setting aside time at the end of the week to input the data after jotting it down on sticky notes or in my planner. But I'm not going to beat myself up if it doesn't work.
This is the app I'm using to help with motivation for my Miracle Morning too. I'm only a couple days into using the app and I'm not at the point where I automatically pick it up yet.
The problem with any phone app for me is that it's not immediately visible. I have my calendar on the wall. I have postit notes in front of me. I keep my main planner open. Those things are visual and let me know what's coming up next, or what I still need to do for the day. Apps tend to disappear. Unless I turn on push notifications, but I'm trying to get away from that to be more mindful of what's going on around me.
The nice thing about this app in particular, is that there is a spot for notes to go along with word count. So you could totally include information like the when and where your writing time took place. All your data is exportable to CSV files from the app as well, which could make it more manageable. I'm not sure how easy it would be to manipulate in that form, though. I don't have enough to export yet.
Below is the video that made me give this particular habit tracker a shot.
What about you? Are you an author who tracks your writing in a spreadsheet? Or are there other habits you want to keep track of in the upcoming year? Tell me how you keep tabs on your own progress. I'd love to hear about it.