This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo. And so far, things are going well.
I set up my writing schedule so I would work harder in the beginning of the month and be able to cut back on my word count goals toward the end of the month around Thanksgiving. My two highest word count days (not counting blogging and client work) were Friday and Saturday of last week, both with a goal of 3509 words. I exceeded my goal each day, writing 3627 and 3592 words respectively.
This week I'm down to a much lower word count requirement of 2632 words per day. I exceeded that goal yesterday, and I don't see any reason why I wouldn't do the same moving forward. I take Sundays off (although that schedule might change after NaNo as my official work schedule is only Monday - Thursday, and I don't plan to change that long-term).
So far this book's content is going from head-to-screen much faster than I could have imagined. And a big part of that is how I track my progress. I've always been someone who motivates themselves by tackling smaller parts of a larger whole. It's why I'm a to-do list junkie. What might look like an overwhelming list at first becomes an awesome motivational tool every time I get to jot down a little check mark. NaNoWriMo (or any larger writing goal) isn't any different.
Right now I'm using this print calendar to check off every 250 words I write. That's such a small amount of writing in the scope of my typical work day that I think nothing of it. I love checking off those boxes, and it's easy for me to say "let's squeeze in one more." One more becomes two more, which becomes three more. You get the idea. Just like pacing matters in reading a book, for me it matters in the writing as well. Tracking my word count helps.
When it comes to getting motivated for a new day of writing, I turn to my larger word count totals. Today, for example, I'm starting off with just under 10k words. Hitting that mark is my motivation (although I'd actually love it if I exceeded by goal by around 200 words which would put me around 12.5k, so tomorrow I'll hit the 15k mark). For this, I use a NaNoWriMo widget which you can see in the blog side bar (it'll tell you what days I've been a bad girl and skipped my writing too, which is a kick in the butt in its own right).
For projects in general, I use word count trackers that were custom-developed for this site and its visitors. You can see an example lower in the blog sidebar on this page. My current projects and their word count goals are listed there. (My novel, for example, has a higher word count than my NaNoWriMo word count because I went the "rebel" route this year and picked up an already-started project because that's what my publishing plan allowed for.)
If you'd like to track your project word counts on your own website or blog, I hope you'll check out those tools. They're both pretty customizable in that you can tweak the size, colors, and such before grabbing the code for your site. The advanced tool is ideal not only for authors but for any kind of writer. It lets you choose what you're tracking, so you aren't limited to word counts. For example, you might use it to track the number of blog posts you want to write this month, or you could count the number of new gigs or clients you've landed as a freelance writer.
Whether you're looking for a NaNoWriMo word count tracker or simply a long-term tool to track your writing progress, check out our free trackers below:
And don't forget to check out our other resources for writers, where we have a variety of e-books, online tools and calculators, worksheets, and templates -- all created just for our readers.
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. Through her company, 3 Beat Media, she operates All Indie Writers, NakedPR.com, BizAmmo.com, and numerous other blogs.
Jenn has over 15 years experience writing for others, over 11 years experience in blogging, and 9 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.
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