Tracking Your Writing Progress

While you wouldn’t normally associate the art-driven author with something numbers-driven like a spreadsheet, the two actually go very well, together. Many authors use Excel and Google Sheets to track their word counts in an effort to improve their performance and to stimulate their productivity.

It’s a kind of psychological hack to be able to see your word counts rise each day and feel accomplished and knowing that you’re making actual progress. So recently, I decided to start tracking my own word output in an experiment to see how it would improve my daily writing (or not). As a result, I went through quite a few spreadsheets to find one that would work for me, and I thought I’d share some of the better finds.

When you start hunting for writer’s word-count spreadsheets, one of the first names that will start popping up is Svenja Liv, and rightly so, as she makes word tracking spreadsheets that are literally works of art. She also makes ones specifically for Nanowrimo, so whether you want yearly or just Nano stats, this page is it!



Some people have even turned the daily word count thing into a game called The Magic Spreadsheet, and formed a whole writer’s community around it. If you think a little gamification would improve your writing, maybe that’s the way to go for you.

If you want something more weekly and specific, then you might like Jenny Trout’s Big Damn Writing Tracker spreadsheet. It even has quotes in it to keep you motivated to write as you’re recording the wordcount from your latest round of binge writing. It’s also nice because it has spots so you can note what project you were working on to produce which words.

However, my personal favourite is Keith Dumble’s Amazing Mechanical Wordcount Tracker which I copied into my Google Drive so that I can update my word count on my phone or wherever I might be writing.

In fact, I should point out that Google Drive/Sheets will import Excel files, so that if you find a spreadsheet you adore and don’t have Excel on your computer, you can always just upload it to Google Drive to use it.

They key point is, try tracking your wordcount- you might just find it really works for you!