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How Do I Measure Success?

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It’s hard for me to see whether I am improving in my writing. I don’t mean ability. That can wait for a bit. At the moment it’s about volume. Honestly, I’m so poor with the amount of time I spend writing, that any time doing it is considered good at the moment. But then, without regularly churning out work, how can I judge that I’m getting better? When does a little bit become a little bit more?

A while back, I wrote about reviewing your writing plan. I have also written about keeping motivated in your writing endeavors recently. I mentioned I should remember that although I have not stuck rigidly to my plan, I am doing more than I was at the beginning of the year.

But you can only really use that once or twice. In a month’s time, I will find it difficult to know if I am doing a little better than I am now. And with my free time the way it is (i.e. limited), I’ve got to move forward by degrees. How can I give myself that emotional lift if I don’t know I’m doing any better? How can I find motivation to push on and get better when I don’t know what better is?

So I thought about it, and it’s got to be down to numbers. If I had a bunch of stats to judge my performance, I can compare and see improvement. So I’ve decided to go for weekly word count, and time spent writing. The aim is to increase both every week. Adding that up over four weeks gives me totals for the month, so I can see the small improvements adding up to bigger changes.

I’ll keep it all on one spreadsheet so it’s easy as a quick reference, and I am not discouraged from looking at it. And that will do for now. All I want to see at the moment is that I am gradually putting more time in, and getting more done. At some point time may run out, but I’ll still be interested to see if I am being more productive with that time.

Is this useful to anyone else? Can anyone think of other ways to measure progress early on? Leave your comments below.