Anyone who has blogged or has a website is familiar with the concept of stats. We all want to see how many hits we got and what posts people liked, traffic sources, time spent on pages, conversion rates, and so on. And as writers we can take a cue from our blogs and websites and consider keeping some stats of our own.
What kind of stats might a writer keep? I can think of several off the top of my head:
- # of words written (can be tracked daily, weekly, and/or monthly)
- # of submissions
- Income/royalties (weekly, monthly, quarterly)
- # of promotional pieces sent out (could be emails, newsletters, info packets, prospect letters, etc.)
- # of reaches/inquiries
- # of assignments landed
- # of pages edited
- # of queries sent
- # of completed projects
The above are just examples of stats you might want to track, depending on what kind of writing you do (freelance or fiction, or both) and naturally you would tailor your stats to your own production and specific activities.
Why keep stats?
There are several reasons you may want to keep stats aside from the obvious stat of income derived from your writing. By breaking down the process and tracking and monitoring other stats you can see how much activity results in income or publication or your desired result. For example, if you had a completed novel and your goal was to get published, you would track how many queries you sent to publishers and as you start to get a response you can see how many queries you have to send in order to get a response. The same would be true for a copywriter looking for more clients, how many promotional letters do you have to send out to get someone reaching back for your services? And then how many bids do you have to give in order to land a client?
The same would hold true for fiction writers who want to publish short stories. How many submissions before you get interest in your story, or publication?
Even if you are just setting out to write a novel, targeting a completion date can help you to get that novel written. Tracking daily and weekly word counts can help you ramp up your efforts if you are falling short or keep you on track if you are clipping along.
In fact, anyone who has their own business or even a large goal they want to accomplish can be helped by using statistics to track their progress. Statistics can help to motivate you and keep your eye on the ball.
While writing is a creative endeavor it is, like any other activity, also a numbers game. The more writing you do, the better you get, and the more consistent you are the better result you reap. And while keeping stats won’t make you a better writer, it will make you a more productive writer and that, as Martha likes to say, is a good thing.
What do you think – would keeping stats help you as a writer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.