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A Writer’s Journal

One of the best ways to monitor your progress as a writer is to keep a journal.

Keeping a writer’s journal allows you to keep track of the days you’re successful, the things that inspire you, techniques or strategies you learn, and how many words you can complete each day.

Here are a few things you should consider recording every day:

  • The number of words you wrote and how much time you spent writing
  • A quick summary of any articles/chapters that you wrote
  • Anything that inspired you while writing today (movies, something a friend said, a memory, etc)
  • Techniques you used to generate ideas (brainstorming, using an outline, speaking out loud, etc).
  • If you sold an article, how much money you earned for the time invested and its word count
  • Classes and/or interesting articles you’ve read.  Include how to find them again, such as recording the web address.
  • Anything that was going on while you were writing (kids or pets interrupting, music or television shows going on in the background, whether you visited websites as you were working, etc).

Keeping track of these items will help you to understand how you’re improving as a writer.  Looking back at these journal entries will help you see how far you’ve come, as well as how to make yourself more productive as a writer.

Looking at your best days will help you figure out what factors help you to be the most successful.  After you’ve recorded your progress every day for a month, look for some common factors on the days where you performed well, and on the days where you didn’t write as much.

For example, you may find some of the following correlations:

  • On days that you were most successful, there were fewer distractions (no interruptions, no checking email, etc).
  • On days that you were less successful, you were watching a movie at the same time as you wrote.
  • Using a reward for a certain amount of progress resulted in a higher quality work.
  • Watching certain types of movies/reading certain types of books tended to inspire you.

Try using a writer’s journal for a month, and see what you learn.  I’ve found it to be a valuable tool for watching my own progress, keeping track of what I learn, and figuring out ways to continue improving as a writer.


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