I’ve been having a great writing month, using Scrivener’s built in word count tracker to keep me on goal. My goal is 80,000 words by February 5th. I started writing on January 2nd. One of the really cool things about this tracker, is that every day it figures out how many words I need to write each day to meet my goal. It’s roughly 2,500 words a day. If I write over, the next day’s goal is lower. If I skip a day or write under, the goal is higher. There is no fudging with this system. If you think you’re going to skip a writing day and catch yourself up later, there’s no kidding yourself because the number is right there staring you in the face. Here’s what my tool looks like.


Tracking Word Count

At the beginning of a session. 

Tracking Word Count

At the end of the same session












My roughly 2,500 words a day can take me anywhere from 3-6 hours. I have a dog, who makes sure I get off my butt periodically. That time also includes getting up for coffee and lunch–it’s 3-6 hours of my day, not of actual composing. I haven’t tried to accurately time my writing yet. A major variable, besides the dog, is whether or not I am writing something that requires research. Research can be as simple as searching for the type of car that would have been used as a coroner’s vehicle in the early 1970s. It can also be as complicated as trying to understand a Vietnam veteran’s experience.

I don’t know that The Murder in Skoghall will be finished on February 5th, at 80,000 words, but I’m pretty confident I’ll meet my word count goal and be close to finished. I’m already at 67,758 of my 80,000 words. I feel myself getting into that final stretch where all the pins are set up is and now it’s time to knock them down. It’s also time for some serious escalation on the way to the climax.


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