Online Word Counters
If you don't use MS Word, you can make use of the free online word counting tools. Two free sites are Word Count Tool and Word Counter. I have used both of these sites without any problems. I then write down my word count for each article I write and add the count up at the end of the day.
You don't need to get fancy with your daily word count tracking system. In fact, I am using a purse calendar to write down my daily word count. You can also keep track of your word count on a wall calendar or you can add your word count to a calendar program such as Apple's iCal. Some writers like to create spreadsheets to keep track of their daily word count. Whatever you feel most comfortable with will work the best.
How Keeping a Word Count Log Helps
Keeping a daily log of your word count is like competing with yourself, from day to day. Let's say that you discover you are only writing about 500 words a day. Push yourself to write 550 words a day for the next couple of days. When you are comfortable with that word count, boost it to 600 words. Push yourself until you are doing at least 2,000 words a day.
Keeping track of your daily word count also makes you aware of what days are consistently bad writing days. It gives you the chance to either make changes to your schedule on that day or, if you are a full-time writer, you can decide to give yourself that day off and concentrate on other activities in your life.
Keep on Pushing
I write about 4,000 words a day. Some weeks, most of those words go into a book and other weeks those words go into articles. Before I started actively keeping track of my word count, I was only writing about 500 to 1,000 words a day. Deciding to keep track of my daily word count has enabled me to push myself to work harder and create better writing habits.
I only pushed myself to write an extra 50 words a day because 50 words aren't difficult to write. I didn't get stressed out over it and I was not setting myself up for failure. Avoid setting unreachable word counts and keep pushing yourself in small amounts.