Back in the day, when I first started out writing novels, I never kept track of my daily word count. It wasn’t until my third novel, The Crush, that I finally began writing down my word counts for each day in my planner.
While this method worked for a while, even as I began book two, The Fall, I found it didn’t fit my needs well. I craved a tracking system that I could have access to whenever I wanted, instead of having to carry my planner around with me everywhere. This led to me creating a Google Sheets word count log, and downloading an IOS app called Word Tracker, which we’ll be looking more into today.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am not affiliated with the creators of the Word Tracker app. I am, however, someone who uses, and loves, the app. This is an honest review of a free product.
What is Word Tracker?
Word Tracker is, basically, exactly what its name is… a word tracking app for writers. And, if I may add, a bomb-diggity one at that.
While simple enough to not distract writers from what truly matters (#WRITING), yet robust enough to aid writers in setting achievable daily goal to meet their desired word count by their deadline, it is a must-have addition to your writing software arsenal.
Word Tracker’s Features
From the get-to, Word Tracker allows writers to create separate goals for each writing project. For example, when I was adding more scenes to The Fall (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #2) during edits, I was able to set my desired word count for that, which was around 15k, and then set it for a certain deadline. At the same time, I was able to create another project for The Dream (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #3), and set it for the word count I wanted, which was 10k. I really like this feature, because it made it simple for me to be able to track my progress on both projects without me having to create an entire new Google Sheet just for The Fall’s additions during edits.
Daily Word Count
My favorite part about Word Tracker is that, while it doesn’t populate a spreadsheet/detailed chart for you to view your daily word counts, it does provide you with a new, recalculated word count each day that is either 1) lowered from the previous day if you have made more progress so far than expected, or 2) increased from the previous day to help you catch back up and meet your deadline’s word count goal on time. Featured on the Dashboard tab, the Daily Word Count feature is my favorite, because it helps us writers realize that we are not robots who can crank out the same word count each day, and that it’s perfectly okay. Sometimes, we fall behind, and some days, we’re prolific and can crank out thousands of words. Word Tracker is able to adjust to both scenarios!
Logging Your Words
The only gripe I have about the Word Tracker app is that the way you add your words for the day is slightly confusing. This section (in the Daily Word Count section on the Dashboard tab), lists your “Start of the Day” word count, and your “Now” word count, which is where you can type in your daily writing progress.
The way I’ve been adding my word count, because I have additional notes in my current WIP’s document that do not need to be counted toward my actual total words, is that I highlight all the words I’ve added for the day, find that word count, and then add that number to my total. So, for a quick 20-minute session, I may have like 250 words. Now, Word Tracker does allow you to type in the amount of words you want to exclude from your WIP, but I haven’t messed with it on this project. So, for full disclosure, this gripe is mostly my own fault!
To add your daily word count, instead of logging “250” in the “Now” box, for an accurate count for your WIP in Word Tracker, you have to manually add “250” to the “Start of the Day” total. So, if as of today I have “4191” as my “Start of the Day” total, and I wrote 250 words today, I would add those two numbers together, getting 4441, and that is what I’d need to log in the “Now” box for the app to track my progress.
Again, the only reason it it’s confusing for me right now is because of my weird method for getting the word count. For those who just find the total word count for the entire manuscript’s document, you won’t need to do the weird addition thing I do. 😛 Instead, you would just write the total word count for you WIP in the “Now” box.
While caring too much about writing statistics can inhibit writers from making progress, Word Tracker’s Statistics tab offers writers a simple Overall Progress graph that displays your project’s progress… and not much else. You can tap on the graph’s line to see how far you’ve come over time, but, like I said in the Daily Word Count section above, it doesn’t show your day-by-day individual word counts. Which, I think, can be a blessing if you’re just wanting to see where you’re at as a whole on the project without too much overwhelm.
The Overall Progress graph also includes an Expected amount, as well as an Actual amount. The Expected amount is the amount of words that Word Tracker suggests you should have written at this point in your project according to your deadline’s date. The Actual amount is the amount of words you have written thus far. While this feature could potentially make writers feel bad for falling behind, I actually like it, because it shows me an achievable range of what amount of words I need to get to in order to catch up on the project rather than me looking at my Google Sheets word count log and saying “I’m not at 10k yet, and I only have 2k written so far…” and then give up when success could have been one more writing session away.
The bottom half of the Statistics tab shows your Overall Word Count Stats. Here, the app displays a percentage of how many words you’ve written out of your overall desired word count for the project. It also shows how many words you have left to go under “Outstanding”. Depending on how you’re feeling about your project’s word count, you can edit the amount of words you’d like to write for the project’s entirety in this section by tapping the purple pencil icon.
Underneath the Overall Word Count section, the Statistics tab lists a Deadline section. Here, it just shows your preferred end date for the project, listed in a DD/MM/YYYY format. It also shows you how many days you have left to complete the project. Just like with the Overall Word Count section, Word Tracker allows you to edit your deadline date by tapping the purple pencil icon.
From day one of using Word Tracker, I have been extremely impressed with its design and easy to use features. As a major procrastinator when it comes to creating a consistent writing habit, Word Tracker’s intuitive daily word count goals have inspired me to get off my lazy streak and get back to writing. I highly recommend it to both new and seasoned writers!
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
Do you use Word Tracker? How do you feel about the app? If you haven’t tried Word Tracker, what are your favorite apps, or software, for keeping track of your writing progress?
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.