Recording Your Progress
by Marg McAlister
If you're having trouble achieving what you had hoped to with your writing, you might find that an easily-seen
record of your progress helps you to stay on track. Create your own checklists or visual records to help you
visualise your progress.
Some examples of how these might be used:
THE 'TEN STEPS' PROGRESS CHART
- Ten steps to building your writers network. For example, you could start with regular email contact
with just one other writer, and build this up to a network of writers, editors, writing groups, online
discussion groups, and so on. Or if you don't know any other writers, Step One could be locating a writers'
forum online and making friends there.
- Ten Steps to building a website. For example, Step One could be deciding on your website's name;
Step Two locating a good website host; Step Three either buying the software to create your site or contacting
a professional to do it for you... and so on.
- Ten steps to creating the characters for your novel. For example, Step One could be deciding on the
main character and giving this person a name; Step Two could be working on this character's background... etc
- Other Ideas for 'Ten Steps': ten steps to a completed plot; ten steps to assembling your media kit;
ten steps to marketing your articles; ten steps to outlining your non-fiction book.
THE 'PERCENTAGE' PROGRESS CHART
- If you know the approximate finished length of your book, divide the word count by ten and check it off
each time you finish another ten per cent.
- If you prefer to work in scenes, and the finished word count is fairly open, then spend some time working
out the major and minor scenes in your book. Give each scene a name (just for the purposes of identification -
you can number them instead if you prefer) and then divide the finished scene count by ten.
- Commit to going to a conference or doing a writing course. Work out how much this is going to cost, and
then start putting money aside. Record your savings progress. (This not only makes it less likely that you'll
dip into the money for other things, it shows that you are steadily moving towards your goal.)
- Decide on how many hours a week you are going to use for your writing, and put those hours in the 'bank';
the total hours will equal one hundred percent. (You can work on either a monthly or weekly bank of hours, but
many writers find that they do better by setting a number of hours to be worked in a month, rather than being
too strict about the exact hours each day or each week. When you have a clear afternoon or when the writing's
going well and you want to keep going, do more hours. Keep a record on your percentage chart so you can see at
a glance whether you're on track or falling behind. (If you're ahead, cheer!)
© Marg McAlister