Writer Resources: tracking word and page counts

I never expected this post to take off like it did the last two years. When I first put these workbooks together I thought I’d post it, a few people might find it interesting or useful and that would be it. Instead, this wound up being something people actually used and it got shared around. Since 2013 I’ve shared these out to other authors as a free resource for tracking and reporting.

2013 Year TotalsI’m a metrics girl. To the left you can see a screen shot of my latest, and probably final, numbers for 2013.

Now, what the heck am I talking about?

My progress spreadsheet! Every year these evolve. From the first incarnation that had only one tab to today’s that’s roughly 14 tabs and a lot of coding.

I like numbers. I’m not good with them, but I like them. I also like to have a tangible idea of what I’ve accomplished each month. Just looking at the above capture, you can see that the first quarter of 2013 was kind of rough on the productivity levels, but at that time I was in Citizen’s Police Academy, I’d met my boyfriend, things were crazy.

What I have is an Excel workbook I’ve set up something like a calendar and each day I record how many words and how many pages I edited on a particular project. The above snapshot shows you a yearly summary, but there are also tabs or pages for each month that look something like this:

Month example 2013

You can click on the image for a bigger view.

What you’re seeing is the progress I made in December 2013, and how I worked on juggling a few different projects. The sheets are built for ten projects, though I don’t anticipate a person working on all ten for a single month. I usually hide the rows of projects I am not working on, but are still in various stages of being written, revised or edited. From looking at the above snapshot, you can tell that I have four projects in the pipeline, but I was only really working on Committed and Line of Duty in December.

You can see that below the daily totals I have some random numbers. This was a thing I ran into on the functional side. I needed a way to track what page or word count I started the day with so I knew where I was ending up at the end of the day. I applied a fix for the 2014 and beyond that you can see below.

January 2014

If you look to the right of the monthly stuff, you can see a grouping of six columns which provide an area to jot down where you start and stop each day.

New for the 2015 version and further improved in 2016 is a new tab to track books progress through the months. It’s called the Year Overview tab. I did this so I can more accurately track how much time it takes me to produce a book. In this time of pushing to produce more, knowing my production times is huge. The 2016 version (not pictured) further breaks down the months into sub-weeks so that there’s a more micro-view of a book’s evolution.

2015 Sheet SC 01

2015 Sheet SC 02One catch is that the color coding is not automatic on this sheet. You have to apply it manually. You can select the various categories through a drop down menu. I might add a couple of columns for each month in the instance of when a book goes through multiple phases in the same month. Since this is a new tab, I’m sure it’s going to go through some change until it’s really ready.

Okay, I’m not 100% sure this was a great explanation. It just occurred to me to post this and links to my template files. Should you like your own versions to tweak, I have two types. The first is a plain-Jane excel workbook, and the second is a prettier one with inspirational quotes from famous writers.

Download the 2016 Workbook (plain)

Download the 2016 Workbook (colorful)

Happy 2016 writing!


12 thoughts on “Writer Resources: tracking word and page counts

  1. Charli A says:

    Oh, my goodness!! This is so wonderful! I am a teacher/mom full time, but I write as a stress reliever. I think this would add to my mental well being!! Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

  2. Sherri L. King says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s going to be so helpful – I’ve always used notebooks for daily journaling and logging the info for writing progression but lately I find myself slowly switching to digital for everything. Its nice to see all the numbers together and color coded. Very generous of you! 😀

  3. Kacey Hammell says:

    Thank you Sidney! I tried to lay out something like this on my own, didn’t quite work the way I wanted / believed it should. I usually use my day planner to jot down my words for each day.
    Thank you for this!

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