I’m starting a new project and this means setting goals. There is always a balance between outlining, researching, and writing. In the end, there must be words on the page. For this project I have an idea, but it is malleable. I’m choosing to do background research while writing certain parts I have in my head. Usually I have an idea, get a good start on an outline, and then write….. so I’m in slightly uncharted territory. Using an outline as a guiding principle, I pinpoint the major plot points and go into detail for at least the first 20% before writing anything. At that point, I know the beginning and pretend to know the end (that always changes but it’s a starting target). Recently a writer friend shared that she can calculate progress on a manuscript by hours worked. She doesn’t have a firm daily word count goal, and instead tracks the hours she’s spent, knowing that it will take 600 hours to finish. Much like a daily word count chart, she draws a chart with dates on the left while on the top she lists what she’s working on (outline, first draft, social media, etc.) and marks in how much time she spent that day on each part of the process. She uses Scrivener for the first draft, which also keeps an eye on word count, then imports the first draft into Word and uses that for the rest. As a side note, she doesn’t count researching as part of the 600 hours. I’m tempted to start tracking my own work this way, and wonder how others feels about tracking the hours and not the words.