I use a lot of different methods to keep track of my progress in my writing. If you’ve never done a full-out outline before, or just want to keep better track of your progress, here are some things that work for me:
Flashcards: Go to the dollar store and buy whatever flash cards catch your fancy. I recommend the lined ones because I can’t write in a straight line without them. While you’re at it, see if you can pick up multicolored ones. Take the flashcards and use them to write down details of your plot. Take the white ones (you can use whatever color you want, of course, this is just for a general idea) to write down the title of your scene (giving your scenes titles is both fun and makes it easier to keep track of them) and a brief summary of it. Take the blue ones and write down all the characters, or split the characters by main characters, side characters, and antagonists by color. Take another color and write out your plot and subplots, another for themes, locations, etc.
Flashcards are fun because you can take them, mix them up, and move them around to see where you are and what you want to do next, especially if you’re a very visual person. It can really help especially if you need to remind yourself of important things (my weakness can be description for dialogue in the first few drafts, so a few cards reminding me of the place and atmosphere are great.
Plot Map: Here’s my plot map, in all it’s messy glory:
This is also fun and super helpful if you place it somewhere you can see all the time. Get a bunch of colored, different-sized stickynotes (also easily available at a dollar store!) and create a surface, whether it’s taped together paper like mine or just a clean wall. Then lay out your plot scene by scene, using the smaller sticky notes to indicate characters, events, themes subplots, etc. Stickynotes are great because you may want to switch scenes around or add another character - easy said, easy done! You can use them to track your progress in general (what’s been edited, what’s been written, etc), and to motivate you to do what comes next.
Want to work on your story but can’t write and are tired of outlining? Try some plot maps! (Note: I made mine mobile so I can switch between projects, and not all of my plot fits on one page @_@)
Saw your post about novel plotting and just wanted to add to it. I use a three panel presentation board (like the ones you see at science fairs) for my plot map. I use sticky notes to outline the plot in the middle panel, use one side panel for a rough timeline, and use the other for subplots (especially when I’m not sure about scene order yet). Great for getting a bird’s eye view, super easy to rearrange things and write in extra notes in pencil, and you can close it up when you’re done :)
This a great idea, especially for those who may have old school projects lying around!