Writing Log

Making Your Writing Resolutions Stick

I wanted to share with you a tool I’ve been using for a couple of years to increase my writing productivity: my whizz-bang word count writing log.

The StoryADay Word Count Log:

  • Helped me write 100,000 words of fiction last year, without really trying
  • Rewards you for meeting tiny word goals,
  • Lets you set your own monthly goal, and automatically updates all the numbers — no math required!

And you can have a copy for free:

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How I Used This Log To Help Me Write 100,000 Words of Fiction Last Year

… without killing myself. (And remember: a 350-page novel is around 87,500 words)

The secret: tiny goals: this log sets a goal at 10,000 words a month. That’s 323 words in a 31-day month.

Honestly, knowing that I only have to write 323 words to get that little green box lighting up my log, makes it so much easier to get started (a huge step on the way to writing success). Of course, if I can get to 323 words, I frequently end up writing many many more.

The other advantage to setting a manageable monthly goal (rather than an ambitious daily goal) is that even if I miss a day (or ten), it’s relatively easy to catch up. And then the reward centers of my brain light up and I feel like a success.

Which makes me more likely to come back to my writing in a day (or ten).

Hitting this 10K word limit for the past three months has resulted in me being halfway through a brand-new novel that I hadn’t even dreamed up until August. Now I’m writing my way towards the climax!

The Writing Log That Rewards You For Meeting Your Goals

If you’d like to try a monthly word count goal, get a copy of this writing log.

It’s set up so that you only have to open up this month’s tab and enter your ‘words today’. That’s all: the spreadsheet does the rest:

  • If you hit your daily word count goal, you are rewarded with a happy little yellow box.
  • If you exceed your daily word count goal (by even one word) the box turns an even happier shade of green.
  • If you miss your word count (or enter nothing) the box stays a stubborn red (you could change this in the conditional formatting menu, if you find this too discouraging!)

The log also keeps a running total of your Words This Month AND your Words This Year.

There’s an optional “Project List”, so you can keep track of how many words you’ve written on which project (if you’re that kind of person — I admit that’s a level of complexity I did not need the first couple of years I was using this).

Bonus! The Writing Log Does All The Math For You!

You don’t have to stick to my 10,000 words-a-month goal. You can enter a different number in the first cell in the “Remaining” column. The spreadsheet will then recalculate all your targets for the month, no matter how many days are in the month. Clever, huh?

Get Your Copy

Here’s a video that shows you how to save and use the log.

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