Measuring Progress Poll Results

Last week, I asked how you measure the progress of revising your novel, or of a writing session. Here’s the results:

Word Count and Page Count Indicate Progress

Word Count edges out Page Count by one vote. It seems the ease of counting words with word processors has made Word Count one of the easiest statistics by which to measure progress.

39,704 Words!
39,704 Words!

However, Page Count was only one vote behind.
Either way, it seems that we like those numbers! We can graph it, brag it, and soothe our writing beast with numbers.

Other Benchmarks of Progress

However, the other benchmarks of progress also got votes: finishing a chapter or an act, and the amount of time spent. It makes sense that not everyone does it the same way. Some write fast, others slow, so a time limit can easily work. I know that when I had four children underfoot, fifteen minutes a day was success!

Setting and Finishing Goals

Barbara Seuling says that she tries to meet the challenge of whatever faces her in a writing session and if she does that successfully, then she’s made progress. This gets away from the numbers and focuses more on the process and the content – a valuable approach.

Casey points out the obvious: we only worry about measuring progress when there’s a pause in the progress.

I think this is partly about the rhythms of the day, the rhythms of the work. But it could also be places/times when you get unexpectedly stuck! Then, we need to measure our progress to remind ourselves that we are making progress. Usually, for me, that’s why I stop and evaluate my progress: to maintain my confidence that I can continue to make progress.