I recently wrote the last lines in the draft of my next Aloha Lagoon book. It is a relief to be done with it for now, but what looms next doesn't make the relief last long. I have three more deadlines, which at times give me heart palpitations! Especially with what I had going as my work ethic, best described as "easily distracted."
I feel like I've turned a corner on my productivity with this book. Between a free Word Tracker phone app and a month-at-a-view calendar, I've hit on a process that works well for me. I've tried each separately, but for some reason, the two together are my sweet spot.
Each morning, I open the app and the calendar and write down the starting number and the number that the app gives me as a goal for the day and add them together. Then, I start tapping away at my keyboard. Once I hit the magic number, or exceed it, I can feel free to stop. Before I go to bed, I enter the end word count into the app as well as write it on the calendar—in green if I hit/exceeded the goal or in red if I did not. Most red days are days I didn't write at all, either having other writing work or life responsibilities, or just taking a day off.
The app I use is called "WordTracker" and when you start a project, you put the goal word count and day you need to be done. My Aloha Lagoon contract calls for a word count between 50K to 70K, so in this book, I put 60K. It is due to my publisher at the end of November, so I put my "due" date as three weeks prior so I can let it rest and let my beta reader give her feedback before revisiting, revising, and sending it to the editor. The app would give me the number of words I need to write each day to reach that goal, taking into account how many were written the day before and how many days are left. It does the math for me, making it easy to see my progress.
I've used it for several projects now, but this is the first time I have been regimented about tracking with the calendar as well. I think the visual aid of leaving it open on the desk next to me and the graphics on the app kept me going. I've never had my diagonal line this straight before. I was insistent with myself to do the words needed for the day before other tasks or before giving up for the day. They might not be the best words in the first draft, but they are out of my fingers, on the page, and accounted for.
I've turned to editing my most recent book now, and then I have the next story to outline. I will plug the goals for the next novel in on December 1st (since it is a free app and doesn't understand a future start date), and then I will be challenging myself to have success with this method again.
I am reminded daily when I read other authors' comments and posts that we all have different methods to our madness. With what methods do you find success in accomplishing your tasks on time? Other writers, do you record your word count as you work?