Writing is like going to the gym—you’re excited for the end results, but it takes a lot of hard work to get there! You know daydreaming won’t get you the perfect beach bod or the next New York Times bestseller, so how do you reach your goals?
Just as tracking your fitness progress is a healthy way to stay focused and motivated to work out, tracking your writing stats is a fantastic way to take your writing to the next level!
4 ways to reach your writing goals
1 Realistic expectations
Sometimes we writers tell ourselves crazy things like “This blog post should only take half an hour!” or “Writing my thesis will take two weeks, tops!” or “I’ll finish the first draft of my novel in a single month!”
Turns out it’s helpful to have realistic expectations about how much you can accomplish. When you know your current writing pace, you’ll be able to plan ahead and give yourself the time you need to produce your best work.
For every writing session, record your start and end time and how many words you wrote. As you track your work, you’ll begin to see how long it takes you to complete a project or meet a word count.
You’ll know the optimal writing time to schedule so you can finish your essay or post. This can also help you set realistic long-term goals if you’re working on a big project like a thesis or a novel.
If you’re starting to charge for your writing, knowing your average writing pace will help you calculate the best price for your clients’ projects so you’re making a profit and not a loss.
2 Motivation and accountability
“Write a thousand words a day and in three years you’ll be a writer!” —Ray Bradbury
Tracking your word count is like using a pedometer to track your steps. Getting to watch your progress is exciting, motivating, and keeps you accountable. Many writing projects take multiple days (or weeks, or months) of work, and it can be demotivating if you feel like you’re not making progress. When you track your daily word count you’ll know exactly how much further you have to go, and it feels great to see what you’ve accomplished so far.
If you’re trying to develop a daily writing habit, shooting for a certain word count—whether that’s 200, 750, or 1,000 words (as Ray Bradbury recommends)—will help you stay on track.
3 Goal achievement
A powerful method for staying motivated and making progress is setting clear, achievable goals so you know exactly what you’re working toward.
With fitness, that might be losing a certain number of pounds or inches or lifting a particular weight. With writing, that could be a goal of X words per day, or posting to your blog twice a week, or finishing a short story by a certain date.
Just like you would weigh yourself at the gym, you should track your writing progress so you know how close you are to your goals—and whether you need to adjust your strategy.
4 Increased quality
Tracking your health and fitness goes beyond the scale and can involve multiple measurements, like resting heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, and BFP.
Likewise, writing stats can go beyond quantity (word count) and speed (writing pace), and can help you track the quality of your writing through metrics like
– vocabulary diversity – grammar mistakes/accuracy – sentence length – words per paragraph – pronouns – clichés – most used words – readability
You can also get regular updates on your writing progress delivered right to your inbox through Grammarly Insights. Simply stay logged in to your Grammarly account while you write and Grammarly will track your key stats for you. This personalized report records your word count and vocabulary usage, and reveals your top grammar mistakes—so you know exactly what to work on going forward.