WriteTrack is a tool designed for helping you track your progress towards your writing goals. It is based on my wife’s experience winning the 2003 National Novel Writing Month (generally shortened down to NaNoWriMo), and my own subsequent winning in 2009.
The basic concept is simple. In order to win NaNoWriMo, you must write 50,000 words of a novel in the thirty days of November. This works out to 1,666 and two-thirds words per day. Which is great, assuming that every day in the month is the same as every other date–and we all know that’s not the case. Some people can’t write during the week, others need to visit family over Thanksgiving, etc. And, of course, there’s the question of what to do if you miss a day–do you just try to add another 1,667 words to the following day, or spread it out over a longer period? How do you keep track? Sadly, many just give up once they feel they’ve fallen “too far” behind.
Given these scheduling questions, what is the poor prospective novelist to do? You’re harried enough, trying to hammer out a truly ridiculous total word count in an astoundingly short amount of time; you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not you’re really on track as well.
Enter this tracking system. This is, as far as I know, the only publicly available writing tracker that lets you pre-plan your schedule. There are other trackers specifically for NaNoWriMo, but they simply tell you how far you’ve fallen behind the 1,667 daily word count. This one tells you how much you need to write each day to meet your own personal goals, based on your own expected availability. How does it do this? I’m glad you asked! (You did, didn’t you? Please?)
WriteTrack works by “weighting” certain days more heavily than others. Before the challenge begins, you assign each day a weight (I recommend using 100 for a normal day, since 100% makes sense to me, but go with what makes sense to you–whether that’s estimated words, available hours, whatever). So, expect to work really hard on the weekends? Give your Saturdays and Sundays weights of 200. Need to take some time off to eat turkey? Give the day a 0. Want to ramp up at the beginning? Plug in a 25-50-75-100 series. Want to have the last week as a safety net? Give the last seven days weights of 10. Or whatever. The point is, pick the weights that meet your personal needs. WriteTrack will then automatically calculate a “true” target for each day, giving you the reassurance that your targets match your schedule.
Of course, it gets even better. (Hard to believe, I know!) As you progress through your challenge and you record how many words you’ve written (you can choose to put in a daily word count, or your overall total), WriteTrack will adjust your targets for you. Miss a day? Those words will be spread out over the remaining days, still based on your schedule. Plow through an extra thousand words in a fit of passion? Your remaining targets will drop! No matter what happens, WriteTrack will be right there with you, telling you exactly how many words you need based on your plan.
So, now you can stop spending time worrying about how much you need to write–that’s all taken care of for you. And that extra half hour (or whatever) a day can be productively spent dreaming up new misery to hurl at your main characters…or just typing, you know, random gibberish into your computer. Depends how well you and your muse are getting along at the moment, I guess.
Good luck, and keep writing!