Why And How To Track Your Writing Time

Posted on Jan 13 2014 - 10:15am by Jeff Butts


It might sound silly, but it can be important to keep track of how long it takes you to write a story or essay. You might know how fast you can type in words per minute, but the tests to check this assume you are simply retyping something that has already been written. Such tests do not take into account the time you might spend revising what you write, or just thinking about what to type next. They also don’t take into account the time you spend looking up the proper spelling of a word, or the time you take flipping back and forth between your document and a source you’re quoting from.

Whether you are a student or a professional writer, you will often find yourself under tight deadlines. When this happens, inevitably, something else will pop up, and you will find yourself wondering if you have the time to take care of that extra assignment or story. On the other hand, you might just wonder how much time you need to devote to each project, to make sure you can complete everything according to the proper deadlines.

One of the first things you should always do is find out a way that you can complete the writing in the most expeditious way possible. Often, this might involve finding a template that you can use to speed up your writing process. While Microsoft Office includes a good many templates, there are many more templates to be found online: take advantage of them whenever you can!

Now, on to the “how” part. Microsoft Word makes this very easy to do, actually. Microsoft Word keeps track of how long you have spent editing a particular document, counting the time for each time you have the document open. Bear in mind, however, that the program counts this from the time you open the document to the time you save the document and close it.


In this image, you can see that I have spent 7 minutes editing this document. The arrow is pointing to the time spent. To access this screen, you need to get to the document properties. On most copies of Microsoft Word, you can get to this pane by clicking File in the menu bar, then Properties. Once you have the pane up, simply click on the Statistics tab, and you can see all of the saved statistics of your document.

With this information in mind, you will be able to gauge how long it generally takes you to write a certain type of story, article, or essay. Armed with this knowledge, you can properly plan your panic and be prepared to adjust your schedule for your particular workload easily and confidently.

This might not sound like vital information to have, but just wait until your instructors or editors expect you to lay down 50,000 words in a weekend, and you’ll see just how important it can be.

About the Author

Jeff Butts was a nerd long before they got their revenge. He’s a full-time writer and a techie who enjoys sharing his tips and tricks with others.