Pre-NaNo Write Track Update

WriteTrack ScreenieIn May 2011 I put up a post on a great, free web app for writers, called Write Track. In preparation for NaNoWriMo, I logged in to set up my NaNo project (it starts in 2 days and I’m chomping at the bit) and found that Write Track had had quite a make over, so I thought I’d give it another quick plug. The update looks substantially more professional, but also promises a cleaner behind the scenes which will mean smooth running, particularly in syncing your progress to Write Track from the NaNo site (I haven’t used it like this, yet, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it works.) It also says there is a mobile app for updating from your smartphone but I assume it’s an iPhone app, because I couldn’t find it on the Android store.

So what does Write Track do? Essentially, you create projects with a word count goal, and it will give you a calendar for each project which divides your goal across the days you have assigned for the project. Those of us who do NaNo know that 50,000 words in 30 days is 1667 words a day, but what if you can’t write every single day during your project calendar? This is the beauty of Write Track. The app allows you to allocate each day a ‘weight’ to take your life into account.

To use me as an example: November 4th is my wedding anniversary, so at least that day is always going to be a writing write-off, each year (last year it was 4 days while we went to Hong Kong), so I weight those write-off days at 0%. On the other hand, Mondays tend to be a good day for me, after all I’ve spent most of the weekend unable to write and my brain is charged, so I challenge myself and weight them at 150%. Write Track takes your weightings and adjusts your goal across the days so that you get a per day goal tailored to you. It also continues to adjust the per day goal as you enter your actual totals, each day, so that a day in which you powered along rewards every day after it, lowering your per day requirement, and a day which you spent eating ice cream and staring at a blank screen, is gently smoothed over by distributing your missed words across the rest of the project period.

Of course, the other wonderful thing about Write Track is that it doesn’t cease to be come November 30, so you can keep up the word count motivation whenever you need it (I tend to think it’s a first draft thing, since focusing on word count isn’t the best idea when you’re polishing!)

David S. Gale is the author of Write Track and he does a damn good job keeping it up, tweaking it and generally keeping it running, despite working on a donations only basis. As I said in the earlier post, I’d happily pay 19.95 a year to subscribe to the service, so I’ve paid that again, this year, using NaNo as my reminder. If you find it useful, perhaps you could do the same.

Here’s a larger image of the new look Write Track. I’m looking forward to watching those actual target graphs grow, starting November 1st!

WriteTrack Screenie