This came up recently on the Facebook page and the timing was pretty good as I’d been thinking of writing about this topic anyways.

Up until recently I didn’t track my daily word counts.  Didn’t really see the need.  I knew I needed to write everyday to get the kind of production I needed to hit the publishing schedule I wanted.  What I want to do is pretty expansive. Lots of series, lots of releases.

And to do that I needed to up my production levels.

I knew that but it still wasn’t coming.  I’d always say “let the words just come” and that is true but to meet my goals, I needed consistency.

So I went through everything I had written since publishing my first book The Skeleton Stone (May 2016) and tallied it up. Lots of writing, not that high a word total.

No wonder my production was so slow.

I saw people churning out books after books after books and I was struggling to keep up with an every-other-month novella series.  Something had to change.

I’m not a fast writer. I know that.  I’ll never have the production of a full novel every month. And that’s okay.  But I did need to consistently produce.

Working up a spreadsheet I figured out a daily word count minimum that I could hopefully sustain.  Most nights, I only get about an hour to actually write so had to factor that in.

My goal is 1,500 words a day (not an hour). Any project, or any number of projects, but I needed that minimum.  30 day month, that’s 45,000 words.  I figured if I hit 40,000 for the month, wanting to do more obviously, but I’d be satisfied.  At 40k a month, that’s 480,000 for the year.  Still not that high compared to others (there are people that do 1 mil halfway through the year) but at 40k minimum for a novel (according to Science Fiction And Fantasy Writers of America) that would translate to twelve short novels.  One a month.

(for the record SFWA has word counts as: Short Story – up to 7,499; Novellette – 7,500 to 17,499; Novella – 17,500 to 39,999; Novel – 40,000 and up)

That’s a lot of work produced in a year.  I shoot for 30k words for a Novella and 60k+ for a novel.

Now knowing what I needed to produce, I had to start doing that.  Setting the goal, having a tangible record via the spreadsheet, forces me to write every night.  I switch projects when hit a wall on one, start new things.  But I’m writing around 1,500 words a day.

I play “games” with myself.  Some nights end up writing less if something else is going on (kids not sleeping for example) so I make it up another night and can see I planned in for non-production days (the 45,000 a month vs 40,000).  Since I started tracking on 10/18/18, I have generated 33,982 words.

Not bad for only 15 days or so.  Half a month and I’m already pretty close to my ultimate goal.

That’s all the evidence I needed that tracking your word counts works.  If you aren’t, I would suggest that you do so.

It seems a minor thing, tracking word count every day, but having that goal that need to hit does wonders for the motivation.

I’m thankful I started going it.

Now just need to make sure I can maintain that pace.