How I Use Notion for Novel Writing

Once upon a time… I created a minimalist, distraction-free Notion template for writers that focused on just the words. I’ve used it extensively, but it’s undergone some significant revision to expand to a more integrated, fully functional workspace for my writing. I use Notion now for all aspects of my writing projects, including research, world-building, character-building, storyboarding, tasks, revisioning, and editing. A new template was born.


The dashboard is minimal. This is the portal page to jump into a specific project. I also keep an overview of revision tasks here, and a daily word count tracker. The daily word count target is dynamically calculated based on the target words for each project and the target completion date, so this goal number changes each day depending on how much writing I do. The more I write today, the less I need to write tomorrow.


All documentation specific to the project lives within the project page, using linked databases with filtered views. Here I can manage my characters, tasks, storyboarding, and revisioning/editing. A template sets up the project page in a couple of seconds, with all of the databases pre-filtered to the specific project.

A view of the "WIP" writing project page template in Notion

Clicking into a chapter takes it another level deeper. I use a template to create chapter pages that includes a view of the plot cards for that chapter and my personal lexicon for reference. Once the chapter is written I delete the sidebars, then copy/paste the chapter into a “First Draft” document to save for historical reference. Then I’m ready to move into revision. I’ll keep copies of the chapter at each stage.

Notion has a handy word count feature under the ellipsis at the top-right of the page. I copy the word count into the meta for the chapter. This rolls up to the project and calculates the total words, pages, and reading time.

When I’m done with a project, I archive it and it falls out of the active view.

This system works great for managing multiple projects and keeping views relevant to each project. I absolutely love using Notion as a complete writing system because of how I can manage whole project ecosystems, not just the writing itself. I can control what I want to see and track (and how).

Good news for the folks who have been looking for an advanced system to manage their novel writing. This template is now available to the public. ✌🏻 You can check it out here:


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