Making Steady Progress

I love Scrivener – I think it’s an absolute game changer when you’re working on a novel. It allows you to plot things out, move sections easily around, see how many words you have in a given chapter – I could go on and on. And I’m sure I will in another post.

But one of my favorite things it does is allow me to track how much I’m writing each day. Word will tell me how many words are in my document, but Scrivener will tell me how many words I’ve typed that day at a glance. See the picture at the top of this blog post.

And that really helps a goal-oriented person such as myself. It also helps if you are doing a NaNoWriMo style challenge – it makes it crystal clear if you’re staying on target and helps you fill in your stats as you go.

For my current work in progress, I’ve been trying to be more aggressive, striving to hit a thousand words each time I write, and trying to write every day. I start each day knowing this is my goal, but one of the things that keeps me going is this little box.

It’s the way you run for the lamppost. When you’re running, and you need to inspire yourself to go farther, and you think to yourself, “I just need to get to the lamppost.” And you set that target for yourself into the distance, something challenging to keep you going, yet that you know you can achieve.

I try not to obsess as I work, and happily toggle the box off and on as I go.  ([ctrl-comma], for PC users who like keyboard shortcuts, as I do.) I do get a happy little boost as I toggle it back on – okay, two hundred more words down! And then I toggle it off again and get back to work.

Sometimes it’s the desire to hit the thousand-word mark that keeps my laptop open. Sometimes it’s looking at the length of my overall novel, and seeing that if I just write another sixty-seven words, I can make it to another milestone round number. But all of these things push me to get more on the page. And the more I get on the page, the further along I am, the closer I am to getting out of drafting and into the revision stage.

Setting a goal, and seeing my visual progress toward it, inspires me to keep going, keep writing, keep typing, keep trying. And anything that keeps me moving forward is a winner in my book.

What inspires you to get one more word on the page?

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2 Comments

Filed under Coral Jenrette

2 Responses to Making Steady Progress

  1. Your question is a good one, but first I’m going to comment without answering it.
    Your description of Scrivener and its associated data remind me of Fitbit, the device that has often served to get my body away from the desk and outside on a quick errand, real or imagined. The imagined part, for me, means not just that I’m trekking to King Soopers once again. (Who doesn’t need SOMEthing when it’s been nearly 24 hours since the last excuse to go?) Imagined also means that I have been known to detangle ideas, find clarity, and trip over aha’s on some of those walks.
    Ok, the vast majority are just for putting circulation back into my lower half, but they nearly always provide good things. With fresh air comes energy and – hallelujah! – some manner of inspiration, mood improvement, perhaps better looking legs.
    So, to answer your question, one of my ways to keep writing is to get up and stop writing for a bit, and I do have my Fitbit to thank for that.
    Another thing that helped me immensely in reaching the end of my most recent writing effort was a plot calendar that I created as the story became clear to me. No time to discuss that, though. I’ve got to run to the store.

  2. This is great! But it makes me realize that I need another Scrivener lesson. I’m not even sure where the toggle box is! My daily routine involves doing a chapter a day. However, I always begin with rereading yesterday’s chapter and editing it to get myself back into the world of the book. 

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