Writing Productivity: Why celebrate every word and moment?

Do you track your writing productivity?

If so, do you give yourself credit for writing only for certain projects?

I realized, after ten years of pursuing the goal of writing professionally and often feeling like I had failed, that I was being too harsh on myself.

Read more to find out why I decided to celebrate my productivity and how this is helping me become a healthier, happier writer.

I spent nearly a decade without a good way of tracking my writing progress. I would check my word count at the end of each writing session and use a general writing rule I had to determine if it was a “good” writing day or a “bad” writing day, to discover if I had been productive or not.

Where did I find this writing rule?

A writing book I shall not name, but suffice to say, I thought I was having a good writing day if my word count was between 1500 and 3000 words per session on my main WIP. Anything else I deemed “bad.”

I was often unhappy with my productivity. This caused some stress, and no matter how many projects I finished or what I accomplished, I felt I had too many “bad” writing sessions to be a “good” writer.

So, I stopped making any progress on my main WIP’s all together. I froze when I sat down to write. I shelved projects I didn’t keep a continuous word count going on each day. I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life if I wasn’t a writer. During this time, I was also struggling with health issues, so in all ways, I was very down.

I teach homeschool students and tutor individual students, so I had that to return to, and I do enjoy teaching, but I yearned to work on my WIPs, if only I could have “good” writing sessions and “productive” writing days.

One day while teaching, I told my students, “Any writing is writing practice.”

I went onto say, “A line of writing is still writing.” I quoted an ancient saying (I had to look up the original source) to say:

“Never a day without a line” or actually, “Nulla dies sine linea” which is a Latin phrase meaning “no day without a single line.”

Pliny the elder

It was a quote I had used to pluck myself up after having a “bad” word count day in the past, but I turned it around in my head again as I was saying it out loud.

What if I applied that quote to everything I wrote? What if I included all the non-WIP writing in my daily word count?

I write lists, lesson plans, emails, social media posts, blog posts, poems hidden in my desk on scattered notepaper, tiny story ideas, and reflections in my journal. I write hint fiction stories on my phone.

What if I counted all of my small writings AND writing I did on my WIP?

And what if I celebrated the writing I accomplished every day, every week, every month, even if the word count was less than 500 words, or even less than 50 a day? And what if I counted conversations about writing and research about writing?

There are many ways to track writing productivity. I choose to use an excel spreadsheet. Each day, I enter all the writing I do. I count everything. EVERYTHING. I track conversations about writing, my writing group meetings, my time researching, my lists, my stray poetry, my text messages.

And I started to celebrate all the writing time and words. I give myself writing rewards – extra time on social media or Pinterest, a book I want to read, more time to read, more time to walk, dance breaks, singing breaks, fancy coffee, a cup of tea sitting outside on the deck listening to the sounds of the neighborhood, etc.

The results so far from this experiment: I am happier, healthier, and more productive.

So, now I keep this reminder on my wall:

Celebrate each word. Celebrate each story, poem, phrase, or conversation about writing. With each celebration, become a healthier, happier writer.

Tyrean Martinson

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