2021 Writing Self Check-in

Filed in Writing Tips by on February 23, 2021 0 Comments

Self-Check: If you’re devoting a lot of time to writing but aren't seeing the progress you want, keep tabs on yourself. Is self-editing slowing you down? ...


How are your 2021 writing goals going so far? If you feel like you’re devoting a lot of time to writing, but you aren’t seeing your word count climb, then you may want to start keeping tabs on yourself. Is self-editing, as you go, slowing you down?

Starting each writing session by editing what you wrote during your previous writing period can eat up a significant amount of time you could have been writing, and you’ll never make large strides in your word count that way.

Find a paper planner you can use solely for this self-check. Add in your writing schedule for the month to keep track of the days you plan to write. Also, write down the word count you’re starting with going into the new month. For instance, if you start your self-check on March 1st, and you have 10,000 words currently written, then note 10,000 words off to the side of your planner’s monthly spread. This way, you can see where you started and how many days you plan to write during the month of March.

Then, every day you write, keep track of your total word count at the end of the writing session. For instance, if you write on March 1 and you get to 10,400 words, then write that number down on that day in your planner. Continue to keep track of your word count in your planner at the end of each writing session. If you see your word count drop under the previous day’s word count or if you notice you’re working two to three hours at a time, but only see an uptick of 200 words each session, you’ll start to see that you aren’t actually writing as much as you should be.

How to Change

Once you are able to pinpoint the reason for your underperforming word count, you can begin to take steps to change how you embark on your writing sessions. For some writers, using timed writing sessions is a great way to force writing focus because they don’t allow themselves to do anything but write while the timer is going. When the timer stops, they can go back and check their work or they can take a short break before setting another timed writing session. These timed writing sessions are also called writing sprints.

Ernest Hemingway would always force himself to stop writing for the day in the middle of a sentence. That way, he had to dive right back into the writing the next morning. He couldn’t bear staring at the unfinished sentence.

You could do the same with your writing, so you have to finish the sentence as soon as you start writing again. This will also help you with forwarding movement and should help prevent you from going back to read over your writing.


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About the Author ()

Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on XulonPress.Substack.com.

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