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Writing update: January 2017

Turns out I haven’t done a regular monthly writing update since last March. So here’s one for last month

The writer’s progress: 2016 edition

In which I reflect on my writing progress during the course of 2016, aided as ever by by my trusty Google Sheets Writing Log.

writing log feature image

A free wordcount tracker for 2017

Before I launch into my next post, which will be all about analysing my writing efforts during 2016, I thought it might be useful to share my Writing Log template that I’ve been using for the last few years.

It’s very simple, does most of the calculations for you (monthly totals, averages, etc, etc) – all you need to do is to enter the number of words you’ve written, or edited, each day. I find it particularly useful for working out what my average wordcount is, and for tracking when I’ve been particularly productive, or anticipating when those seasonal slumps might occur.

The download link is below (a zipped up excel file) but I can always share the Google Sheets original if you travel that way. Jump down if you want to get stuck in, or read on for a breakdown of each column:

  • Session – choose between morning, lunch or evening, depending on when you did your writing (or add something else in the Lookups sheet)
  • Action – select write or edit or, if you missed that day entirely, select n/a (this is used to keep a total of the days you’ve missed). Again, you can add different entries in the Lookup sheet if you want.
  • Word count – you don’t really need me to cover this one, do you…?
  • Title – I like to enter the title of whatever story I’m working on
  • Draft – I also like to keep track of which draft of a story I’m working on. Add different entries in the Lookup sheet, if that’s your thing.
  • Target/Actual – I don’t use these, but I’ve left them in anyway.
  • Total/Written/Edited – these are all calculated columns, so let them do their thing
  • Notes – if I missed a day, I usually like to put in the reason here. Also, if I hit a particular milestone (e.g. finishing a first draft) I also like to put it here.

There’s a worksheet called 2017 Totals where some more of the magic happens. As you progress through the year you’ll be able to see your monthly totals and averages here.

If you happen to use this and have any questions, use the comments below or find me on twitter. In the meantime, here’s the link:

Writing update: March 2016

March wasn’t one of my best writing months, but despite missing a bunch of days, it turned out to be almost as productive as February. Which was weird.

Writing update: February 2016

Well, it’s March already which means it’s time to share with you all the gory details about my writing exploits during February. (It wasn’t actually gory, of course … apart from that one time …)

Writing Update: January 2016

I did a brief update on my January writing efforts a couple of weeks ago, but here’s the formal update with stats and all sorts of exciting stuff.

an update on my shorts

I’m having an unusually productive writing month at the moment, and a typically unproductive lunchbreak, so why not share with you the current status of some of my short story writing projects?

Writing update: May 2015

While May wasn’t quite my worst writing month to date (at least since Morning Shift records began) it was still pretty bad. And, yet, in some other ways, it was also one of my most successful months so far.

Writing update: April 2015

The contractually required update on my writing activities for April 2015. Well, not really, but anyway …

April was a relatively straightforward month for me: I dedicated the entire month to finishing my final draft of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. (Spoiler alert: I finally finished the edit on May 5). I probably wrote some blog posts as well, but being a neglectful sort I failed to count those.

I did pretty well at getting up for my morning shifts. There were only five days that I overslept, and on several of those days I caught up during my lunchbreak. There was one morning that I got up in good time, but my youngest son also decided to get up early and was rather more in the mood for playing than for sitting quietly on the sofa. So, writing did not happen on that occasion.

This was by far my best month for editing (in terms of total word count), but that feat is tempered somewhat by the lack of any actual writing and the fact that it’s nowhere near my best average (that was February, during which I edited an average of 1806 words on the days that I did editing). Given that this was the ‘final’ draft of a story I already thought I’d finished, the obvious conclusion is that the story needed a fair bit of extra work and the decision to give it a final pass was the right one.

I also had a story rejected, which I view as more of an achievement than anything else. I’ve been attempting to write stories for quite some years now and, apart from a few efforts several decades ago, I’ve not really felt in a position to do anything other than self-publish. That I’m getting to the point where I think my stories might possibly be worth having someone else publish them is a mark, however potentially misguided, of how much more seriously I’m taking my writing these days. Bring on some more rejections!

The stats

  • Number of writing sessions: 0
  • Number of editing sessions: 26
  • Days missed: 4
  • Words written: 0
  • Words edited: 32,733
  • Average words written: 0
  • Average words edited: 1,259

Writing update: March 2015

Fashionably late, as ever, here’s an update on my writing progress and activities for March.

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