Monday, January 2, 2012

A general purpose writing tracker

I've written a general-purpose writing tracker. (You know, because I'm masterful at procrastinating.)

It is designed for a single project, but it will work with any number of days and any number of words. You can either specify an end-date or you can specify the number of days. You can also specify a "Daily Bonus Goal" to clarify that you're really hoping to write more than the minimum required every day. (You know, to support bad word-count days and days when family interferes. By default I set this to 333.33 as my daily personal goal is at least 2K words.)

It supports entering word-count both in "words written in session" (incremental) and "words written total" (total) forms. This is specified in the "Word Count Mode" setting.

It allows you to keep track of the time you write, so you can see how fast you write. You enter the start and end times and it figures out how long you were writing. (These support starting at 10pm and ending at 2am -- and it correctly marks the duration of 4 hours.) It also has a "more" section that allows you to enter the duration directly in hours -- the idea is that it would primarily be used when you have more than two writing sessions a day and you'd use it by migrating the duration/word count information to the "more" section (so even then you never need to calculate how long you were writing).

It has a functional chart, showing where you are at, where you should be, if you met your daily bonus goal every day where you would be, and the average for your overall rate. During the month of NaNo (or Camp NaNo) the number of data-points on the graph will increase as more days are added to the chart. If a day hasn't happened yet, it doesn't show on the chart.

Unfortunately, the chart doesn't work on my Android phone, but the document itself does. This is the benefit of using a Google document.

The number of rows expands based upon the day. If the project hasn't started only the first row will be shown. To get a feel for it, tweak the start date to something two weeks ago -- you'll see a lot of things auto-populate when that happens. The last entry in the list is typically the one you want to edit.

It has a few computed fields that don't show up until a project has been started.

I do just use the default number of rows (100) so if you're going to need more than 90 days, you'll need to tweak some things. This should more than fit most people's needs. If you're tracking a whole year, the changes should be straight-forward (I hope).

It was inspired by the "NaNoWriMo Word Count Tracker" from (An XSL file which also has the capacity to track morale. -- I don't track my morale because when I'm writing I am always in a good mood.)

I've thought about writing a version that could be added to using a Google Form. I started on it, but I've lost interest -- probably because I'll never actually use it.


  1. Checked out your writing tracker, as well as the link to the one provided on the NaNo page. This is so great! Thanks a lot!

  2. Thank you thank you thaaaaank you! You're a life-saver!