Why You Should Track Your Word Count Every Day

By | July 18, 2011

Do you know how many words you write in an hour? How many words you can write on your best days? Or your worst? Or what your average word count is over an entire year?

Here’s 4 reasons why it makes sense to track your word count:

1. You can improve your daily amount of words, simply by keeping track of them. This is a simple psychological trick you can use for your own benefit. By merely writing down what you produced that day, you’ll get into a competitive spirit and want to add just a little more the next day. Or if that isn’t exciting enough, check out other writers’ word count and use them as a benchmark. Can you write more words a day than Stephen King?

2. It’s very hard to estimate how long it will take you to write a novel, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.

That’s because your word count isn’t the same from day to day. If you’re stuck on a plot or a scene, you may produce fewer words; if you’re feeling confident, you may produce more.

But once you keep track, you’ll know your average amount of words per day, and even per hour. You’ll know that you can write a novel in a year, or half a year, or even three months. And once you know your own production speed, you can adjust your marketing strategies to match.

3. Early warning if your word count is slowing down. Without tracking your daily word count, you might not realize that you haven’t been as productive lately. The reason might be obvious — you’re writing in a new genre, or you’re in the early stages of planning a novel.

But maybe the reason isn’t so clear, and you’ll have to investigate. For example, perhaps you’ve been getting distracted by Twitter, or phonecalls, or household disturbances while you were supposed to be writing.

4. You can use your time more efficiently. Many writers set aside a specific number of hours for writing. Once you set yourself an additional word count minimum, you will find productivity climbing. “4 hours’ writing time or 1000 words, minimum” is much more effective than just “4 hours” in which you may spend the entire time staring at the wall.

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