By The Numbers
This is probably more appropriate for a simple “Ask the Twitterverse”, but this way I can make it more than 140 characters since there’s some follow-up…
Writers: What numbers do you track with regard to your writing?
I listen to podcasts where they interview writers and a lot of them mention at least something related to word count goals. I also read 2k to 10k: Writing Better, Writing Faster, and Writing More of What You Love, and Rachel Aaron talks about how she tracked her time and writing output fairly meticulously (at least for a period of several months).
I also get more obsessed with numbers during NaNoWriMo and also when it gets toward the end of the year and I have a lot of numbers to work with.
Anyway… Here are the raw and/or calculated numbers that I try to track on a year-to-year basis:
- Total words for the year
- Average words per day
- Average words per week
- Highest word count day (and date) during the year
- Highest word count week (and date) during the year (as kind of a back-of-the-napkin analysis of productive times)
- Words per individual project (since I’m usually working on 2-3 things during the year)
- Total words in November (for NaNoWriMo, obviously – to compare to previous years)
- Word count by week (I forgot to do this for 2013, but it seems like a good way to identify productivity patterns and use that to enhance my scheduling)
Besides tracking numbers to be able to do retrospective analysis, I also use them during the year (along with some basic spreadsheet functions) to calculate things like:
- Words needed per day to hit goals (~111,000 words this year)
- Words needed per day to match last year’s total
- Words remaining until 1,000,000 written total (since March 2011)
- Current average per day and current average per week
It’s always fun at the beginning of the year when a big day of writing pushes my average to numbers that are totally unattainable on a year-long basis… or at the end of the year when a similar day cuts down the number of words needed to hit my goals like a Hammer of Dawn tearing through a Berserker. (Can you tell I haven’t played video games recently? I should have a GTA or Destiny related metaphor here…)
Is there anything else I’m missing that other people keep track of?