Two More Interesting Writing Charts After 250 Days of Writing

After I posted my writing summary for October, I thought about two more interesting charts. These two charts illustrate two things: the power of setting a writing goal, and how writing every day can get magnified in the aggregate.

I set a goal of writing 500 words of fiction every day. I have been aiming for this goal for the last 250 days. If you take this in aggregate, it means that, if I hit my goal exactly, in 250 days I should have produced 125,000 words. Some days I am under my goal, but more often than not I exceed it. If you aggregate each day’s actual writing and compare it to my daily goal, this is how things look after 250 days:

Aggregate Progress vs. Goal
Click to enlarge

The blue line charts my aggregate daily progress (adding each days word to the total of the previous day). The red line aggregates my goal. The red is where I would be if I wrote exactly 500 words every day. Although it seems like I exceed my goal by just a few hundred words on most days, it actually aggregates to quite a bit. Indeed, in 250 days I’ve written just about 218,000 words–or 93,000 words more than my goal. Which when you look at it that way, is an entire novel more than what I aimed for.

I said I aim for 500 words each day, but I don’t always get 500 words. There have been several days where I wrote less than 500–sometimes far less. But there are many more days in which I exceed 500 words–sometimes by a large margin. This chart illustrates my “under-over.” The bars represent how much I exceed my goal or how far I fall short on a day-to-day basis. In a chart like this a 0 means I hit my goal, a negative number means I fell short, and a positive number means I exceeded my goal:

Under/Over
Click to enlarge

You can see that there are probably two dozen times where I didn’t make my goal. But there are many more ties when I exceeded it.  (That hump between late July and mid-September is where I was racing to finish the first draft of my novel.)

The under/over for 250 days averages to 371 words–which means I exceeded my goal, on average my 371 words. Or, put another way, over 250 days, I have averaged 871 words/day in my fiction-writing.

I mention this because although I don’t have a lot of time to spend writing each day–sometimes as little as 15 or 20 minutes, I do write every day, and by doing so, even in 15 or 20 minute snatches, I’ve managed to write nearly a quarter of a million words of fiction in 250 days. That’s more than I ever thought possible given the time I have available.