Accounting & Accountability

No, that’s not the title of my new Regency Period Literary Romance Novel… (nor a mashup updates set in an accounting firm).

You may have noticed today a couple new Writing Projects Progress Update section in my sidebar – some time ago I used one here showing the progress on “PFTETD”.  I’ve gone ahead and added these new ones for the writing projects I’ve started now that class has ended, and you can see two projects: one a short story I’ve started work on, and the other the new novel project (the one I pitched at JordanCon).

I wanted to make myself publicly accountable for my writing goals.  Just the other day, Dear Wife was threatening that she was going to start a “Dear Wife Reports” line of commentary on my blog letting you all know just exactly how much time I’ve actually spent writing.  I told her I supported her in this endeavor.  But then I thought I’d preempt her, here. 

But here’s my problem.  A writing progress bar is really only useful for one thing: accumulated wordcount on a given project.  But, at least logically, only one kind of wordcount counts toward the accumulated goal: actual words written on the story in question.  Except: I do a lot of writing on background notes, character briefs and sketches, and other related notes that will never appear in the final story.  I’ve even been doing this for short stories.  So, a basic and easy-to-read progress bar isn’t a very good tracking mechanism for publicly reporting my writing progress.

So, I’ve noticed some writers report their daily wordcount totals in daily blog posts.  But I don’t update my blog daily – I set total weekly blog content goals, but I haven’t focused on daily blog goals nor any particular schedule – and I don’t think it would be terribly helpful to start throwing up daily posts for the sole purpose of reporting wordcount totals… it would clutter up my blog with posts containing very little meaningful content.

So far, what I’ve done is include an extra line of text below my progress bar indicating actual words written.  But… I feel like that’s perhaps an inelegant approach (not the least of which because it’s harder

So, dear readers, if you publicly report your wordcount totals, how do you do it?  How have other writers you’ve followed done it?  What advice would you give to someone (i.e. me) who was contemplating different methods of reporting their writing progress?

(For the record, I wrote a total of 463 words last night on my short “Story of G” – all background notes on characters.)