writing projects

NaNoWriMo Preparation: Word Trackers

During NaNoWriMo, it is important that you track your word count or time as part of the self-discipline and goal-setting aspect of the month-long event. There are many tools available to help you keep track of your daily goals, adding up to the hopeful 50,000 words or 30 hours, goals we’ve set for participating members of Writers in the Grove.

When tracking your word count with NaNoWriMo, just remember you always enter the total of the words so far, not the total for the day’s word count, to their calculator. Their system will calculate the increase from the previous day for you so you don’t need the specific word count unless you are monitoring the daily word count for your own needs.

How to Find Word Counts

Tracking your writing time is easy. Just check the clock or watch, or set a stop watch or use the one on your smartphone.

Counting words should be easy, but some programs make it a little complicated. The key issue is that these word count calculations are based upon the entire document, not the words you wrote during that day’s session(s).

For NaNoWriMo’s word counter, this is idea, but if you wish to track your own word count daily, you need to determine how many words you wrote that day. Once you enter the number into NaNoWriMo’s word counter, it will estimate the daily total based upon the new total word count subtracted from the previous total word count. Sometimes you skip a day and total the two days together before entering it onto the website, or wish to calculate it daily, so the following will help you find your word counts, be it a total or for the day.

If you are not using Scrivener, there are two options for finding your daily word count.

  • Create, write, and save one file per day. You may merge them later, but it makes keeping the word count easier. Note the word count in the file before you save it and close it. It will represent a good estimate of the words in that document.
  • Write in one file. At the end of each writing session, note the total word count. Subtract the previous session count from the new total to determine an estimate of the words produced during that session.

Some programs will allow you to select what you’ve written and right click to report the word count for that selected block.

Let’s look at the specifics for finding the word count for Word, WordPerfect, and Scrivener. (more…)