WRITER’S TIME TRACKER
WRITER’S TIME TRACKER ©2000-2007 VICKI HINZE
PROJECT TITLE: ____________________________________________
GOAL DATES: 1st DRAFT ______ 2nd DRAFT __________
FINAL DRAFT ________ SUBMISSION DEADLINE: __________
|Date | Time Start/Stop | Total Time Invested | Focus | Pages + or- |
Above, I’ve listed the headings I use. I just create a table with those columns and enough rows to fill a page. (A novel typically takes me about three columned/rowed pages.)
Use the original created as a template and just copy and paste for the additional pages.
If you write for any length of time, you’ll need to be able to project the time you’ll need to write a book or an article. For example, you’ll be offered a publishing contract, and you’ll need to know what due dates to put in it. If you haven’t kept track of your time investment, it’s going to be difficult to determine this.
Yes, each book is different. Yes, life has a way of turning plans inside out. But if you habitually track your time investment, not only does it assist you in staying on track and focused, it also gives you great insight on estimates of how much time you need to accomplish a specific aspect of a project as well as the project itself.
A proposal averages x amount of time.
A synopsis averages x amount of time.
A novel averages x amount of time.
Averages is the key word. You always allow a little padding, but you do so realistically because you know your base time.
I use the columns shown above. (Which also reveals that I’m most productive from 5 a.m. until 10 a.m. For some reason, I write almost twice as fast during that time. I learned, too, that I spend less time editing the work I write during that time. Double productivity!
Time of year can definitely be a factor. Example. Writing goes slower when the kids are home in the summer. In mid-winter when natural light is most scarce. After 6 p.m. and before midnight. Knowing these types of things allows you to structure your writing time most efficiently–when you’re most effective.
The focus makes it clear whether you’re working on the synopsis, background character traits, setting or research or actual manuscript pages. You might need twice as much time to write a synopsis as you need to draft your character traits or to research a plot aspect. Knowing how you work best, honoring the muse and working with it rather than battling it makes the work more enjoyable for you both. 🙂
The number of pages gained or lost is relative to the daily goal. To assist in keeping me on target with my project completion dates. This also helps track where I am in the creation of the book. Then I can look at what is happening to determine the flow. Is that first major turning point happening soon enough? Too soon? That type of thing.
This tracker has worked well for me through at least a dozen books. Probably more. I’d have to go back and actually see when I started using it, but it’s been at least that long.
If scheduling isn’t a challenge. If you don’t have to be concerned with types of things mentioned, then you probably don’t need a Writer’s Time Tracker. But if you’re like most writers, you have so many different things to do and anything that helps you accomplish more of what you want to accomplish is welcome.
This type of simple system is effective for those in other careers, too. It works for me on scheduling other tasks as well as for writing. Give it a try. I hope it’s helpful to you, too.