Since the social network I was using to help me keep on track with my writing kind of collapsed over the end of last year, I decided to turn to something that would never get too busy to keep track of my written words.

Yep. I made a sheet.

And so far, it’s going well, even though the sheet set-up itself is still very much experimental.

I haven’t got a goal that I want to hit this year, so it’s simply tracking the amount of words I’m racking up. It’s also compiling some charts to show overall development during the year as well as productivity per day of the week.

I don’t know if that last one is going to show me any kind of useful data, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

My goal is to not have any days with 0 words because the most important thing is to show up and do the work every day.

Writing can easily turn into an invisible task.

Yes, on a larger level I can see that I’m adding chapters and words to my story, but on a daily level I can start feeling really hopeless and like I’m not making any progress – unless I make the effort I’ve put into it visible.

Which is the purpose of this word tracker.

I’m not logging words because I need to hit some magical number that will solve all my narrative problems.

I’m logging words because on the days when I feel like I’m not making any progress, that I’m not getting anywhere with it, I can look back and dispel that bias.

Always move towards your mountain.

"Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal.

And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain. I said no to editorial jobs on magazines, proper jobs that would have paid proper money because I knew that, attractive though they were, for me they would have been walking away from the mountain. And if those job offers had come along earlier I might have taken them, because they still would have been closer to the mountain than I was at the time.

I learned to write by writing. I tended to do anything as long as it felt like an adventure, and to stop when it felt like work, which meant that life did not feel like work."

- Neil Gaiman, book Make good art* & 2012 commencement speech Make Good Art

Granted, first you have to figure out what your mountain is and knowing that can be difficult.

Even once you can see the peak, staying on the path can be even harder. The way to the top of your mountain is to keep moving. And to stay on the right path.

Because you absolutely can stay on a wrong path for too long.

That same path that gave you the courage to start climbing your mountain in the first place can eventually become a dead end. That thing that initially was an opportunity can turn into a burden and start slowing you down.

So you have to keep your senses open and continually evaluate if this is still right for you. Does this path still take me to the top of the mountain or does it veer off to somewhere else?

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

Peter Drucker