The first word count tracker I ever came across was the basic Excel sheet someone whipped up long ago for NaNoWriMo. I’ve used a variety of spreadsheets over the years for months, full years, with charts and without, for the Snowflake Method of plotting, with story beats, and different colors and graphic embellishments.
Then came the online or offline programs. Scrivener tracks words per project, I think, but I really don’t use it. (I find it too cumbersome for my methods.) There is even a word count tracker game called 4TheWords. Other options include Pacemaker, WriteTrack, and WordKeeperAlpha. After considerable testing, I decided I liked WordKeeper the best and stuck with it.
There are also apps like Writer’s Progress Bar and WriteOmeter for Android and Write Chain and the amazing Chris Fox’s 5000 Words Per Hour for Apple.
Why Use Writing Trackers?
Most people know the whole SMART goals thing, right? Goals should be measurable (among other things) if you want to succeed. The easiest way to measure writing progress is with word counts. Some people find it silly but you do actually need to write countable words to write a short story or a novel or anything.
Track your progress. Challenge yourself to write more. Learn when you are most productive and what project you are spending most of your time on. If you want this whole writing thing to be done on a professional level of some kind, you should know how well you are doing.
The multiple projects at once thing sometimes screws with my head. I get excited by new stories too easily (Squirrel!). I started Bradbury’s 52 Shorts Per Year challenge last week, and then the first story started turning into a novella at least. I really don’t want more big projects at this point!
So, with my handy word count tracker set up, I am focusing on the two projects you see at the bottom of my homepage. A Mind of Crystal Waters (Lucent 1) and Asylum (Zombie 1).