Keeping Track of Goals

Since my last spate of regular updates, I have been looking for something to really help with keeping track of my writing goals.  At the moment, I have a day job (which I love, don’t get me wrong) and sometimes it can make writing difficult.  I’m really struggling some days to help get myself on some kind of writing routine.  For me, setting myself a goal (and a deadline) helps.  For something like writing, there are a myriad of ways to set yourself a goal.  It can be in how much time you want to spend.  It can be in word count (my preferred method), or characters, or– the list goes on.

Finding a reliable way to keep track of your goal can be a bit troublesome.  I did some Google searching one day.  I was looking for a way to keep track of word count.  I love the graphs and the progress bar that you get with NaNoWriMo; I wanted something like that, but not just for November.  I stumbled upon Pacemaker.

It has become invaluable in keeping track of my goals.  I’m the type that getting to see Pacemaker8how far I am can help me keep going.  It gives me motivation and satisfaction.  What I like about Pacemaker is that it is supremely flexible.  You can use a lot of different metrics like word count, time, sections, chapters, pages.  They have even added things for those needing to keep track of other goals like money, fitness, steps, etc.  I used it for outlining and since I tend to do outlining in my WriteMind before I start writing, I used pages for my metric.  It also has a wide variety of ways in which to proceed.  For example, using a steady goal means that it will automatically calculate how many words (or whatever) you need a day during the Pacemaker5time limit you set.  You can do other settings aside from a steady pace as well.  There’s Rising to the Challenge, Biting the Bullet, Mountain Hike, Valley, Oscillating, and Randomly.  The great thing is, you can change it as much as you want and it calculates automatically based on your settings.

One of the other things I love about it is that if you know specific days or specific dates are going to be better or worse for your goals, then you can either skip them, have the daily goal change to be less than other days, or more depending.

They also have four different ways to view it.  There’s the table, the graph, the calendar,

and the bar graph.  Personally, I keep it in calendar as I’m working on things, but I love looking at the bar graph every so often and when I complete it all, I plan on saving the graph and printing it out.  There is also a progress bar up at the top of the screen at all times, which is lovely.Pacemaker7

Now, I have the Premium account because I wanted to be able to use everything they have as well as everything they plan on coming out with.  Their free account gives you the ability to make two plans at a time.  The premium account (at $8 a month or $72 for the year) gives you no limitations plus more features.  I have found it more than worth the price, but even the free account might work well for some.  One of the features you can get with the premium account is another calendar view that shows all of the current projects/goals you may be working on at one time.  So if you are working on a novel, maybe another outline, or a short story plus if you want to keep track of how often you go to the gym, it would all be there at a glance.  There is also the ability to put a small description for each project and I do believe that is only for premium as well.

There are a few things I would love them to do, mostly have a mobile app and not just browser based, as well as maybe a built in timer.  But then I’m greedy and I love one-stop shopping as it were.  The less windows/apps/things I need, the better!  As it is, I use Pacemaker and an Android app called Writeometer.  But overall, I do love Pacemaker and I love the fact that they are so responsive to their community!  They quite lovely and I can’t wait to see everything they come out with in the days, weeks, months, and years to come!

Chapter 7: Never Tell Me the Odds!

Author’s Note:  Sorry for the slightly disjointed chapter.  Lot happening in game and screenshots was not a priority as I tried to deal with some bugs involving parties.  So again, apologies, but hope you enjoy!

Ulrike, a bit shaky after her brush with an incompetent doctor, slid off the table and went to pick up the small infant.  “Oh-oh look at you.  Y-you’re perfect.  Look at her, Watcher.  Isn’t she just-“

Perfect?  Yes, she’s a darling, Ulrike, truly.

Well, let’s get the both of you home.  I’ll uh, go retrieve, Han… I may have given him the wrong room number…  Otherwise poor little Ripley may have gotten to see a bit more of her daddy’s dark side than she really needs to.

The doctor shuffled nervously.  He was only too happy to see them all leave.


Back at home, the first one to the bassinet was Marcus, of all people.  “Hey little thang!  Aren’t you just the cutest!  Uncle Marcus could just eat you up!”

“Hey, there will be no eating of my daughter!” Han told his friend with a laugh, though there was a protective look in his eyes.  Sims didn’t eat children… did they?

Marcus grinned at him as he set Ripley back down.  “Don’t you worry none.  That lil angel will be well looked after!”

“I don’t doubt it.”  Han smiled at his friend.  Then it was his turn.  He looked down into the bassinet and his breathe caught.  He didn’t even have words.  So he simply reached down and gently picked her up, holding her to his chest.  He lost himself in looking into her eyes.  “Hello, darling.  I’m your Daddy,” he whispered to her.

“I love you very much.  You and your Mommy are my world.”  He had to swallow past the lump in his throat.  Had he really wanted to leave?  It was amazing that such a tiny creature could change- well, everything in such a short time.  Little Ripley made a soft noise and Han hoisted her up, holding her against his shoulder.  Ripley quieted, content in her father’s arms.  “I’ll always be here for you,” he promised her.


Having a baby in the house made things a little hectic for a while.  It seemed as soon as either Ulrike or Han lay down, Ripley needed something, whether it was a bottle or a diaper change, or just to be held.

“Here ya are, baby girl,” Han would murmur to his daughter.  He didn’t mind the sleepless nights, really.  Anything for his precious Ripley.

“Is someone hungry?  Yes she is.”  While Ulrike had decided she wanted to learn to cook in order to help Han meet the requirements of these Rules he had to follow, she loved spending time with her daughter too.  There was definitely something about that moment for mother and daughter.

Han didn’t even mind changing her diapers… well, at least not too much.  “Whoa, such a lot of stink for such a little thing!”  Ripley just smiled up at him from her bassinet.  “You just wait, you little stinker.  Wait till you have your own!”


But before anyone was ready, it was time for Ripley to age up! *

Author’s Note #2: *So… while Ripley was a wee babe, this was when the Watcher was trying to get a bunch of parties outta the way… but the timer bug hit and they were dismal failures, only reaching silver.  So yeah, I didn’t get as many shots as I wanted while Ripley was an infant.  All the adults in the house- when not doing things for parties—were always in the master bedroom, picking her up!

Ulrike did the honors.  “C’mon, baby girl.  Time to grow up!”  Her voice cracked a little, even as the bassinet shook.

There was a cry of “Woooo!  I’m free!  Whoa!  I need to chaaaange!” and then Ripley exploded out, a full-grown child.

Her first stop was definitely to change her clothes and to fix her hair.  She wasn’t a fan of poofy hair, not at all!  When she emerged, though, she grinned saucily.


And let’s not forget Marcus and Jaimie.  They both aged up to elder.  There was no party, since they were all pretty tired out, but they did have cake.

Ripley was given the other room downstairs and it was outfitted for a Princess.  But the only thing she cared about right away was the activity table that her parents had gotten for her.  She loved to draw.  She thought she wanted to do that when she was older, just like her mom, though she thought about writing too.  Maybe she’d do both!

“Mama, when I grow up, can I paint and write?”

Ulrike looked at Ripley.  “Of course, you can baby girl!  You can do anything you put your mind to.”

Ripley was certainly a precocious girl.  Han wasn’t quite sure he was ready for her growing up.  When she’d been a little bundle that could fit in his arms, it had been easy to keep track of her, to know what she needed and when.  Now, though, he was a bit adrift.  His little girl wasn’t so little now!  Then again, it was great to be able to sit at the counter with Ripley and talk about all sorts of things.

“Hey Dad, I get to go to school on Monday!”

“Mhm, you sure do.  Are you nervous?”

“No way!” she exclaimed.  “I can’t wait to sit down at my desk and crack open my books!  And the art room- oh, all those new paints and crayons!”

Han laughed.  “That’s my girl!”

Ripley hopped down off the stool.  “C’mon dad!  Hip bump!”

Han looked concerned at first.  “I don’t know, Ripley…”

His daughter laughed.  “Oh c’mon!  I’m a big girl!”

A short shaft of pain hit Han.  She was a big girl… and she was only going to grow older.  “You got it, baby girl,” he murmured.

“Ooof!  Easy on yer ol’ man!” Han complained, though he was grinning.  Ripley just laughed and ran off.  Han sighed a little, though he couldn’t help but grin.  She was a good kid.


Wow, gettin’ really good there, Ulrike!

“Check this out, Watcher!”

Nice trick!  Got some air on that.  Ready for your birthday?

Ulrike grimaced.  “Not so much.  But guess it’s gotta happen.”  Once the cake she was baking came out of the oven, she brought it out onto the counter and put the candles on it.  With her family watching, Ulrike leaned down to blow out the candles.

“Happy birthday, baby,” Han told his wife as the adults sat down at the table.

“Still lookin’ good as ever, though, huh?” Marcus commented with a grin.

“Oh you!” Ulrike laughed.

Jaimie shook her head, chuckling.  “Better watch it, Marcus.  Wouldn’t want Han to have to trounce your behind!”

“Nah, no way!”

The group laughed.  This was a long-standing joke among them.

“Pretty soon, we’ll be celebrating Ripley’s teen birthday!”

Han groaned.  “Don’t even go there!  I am sooo not ready for that!  She only just became a child!  Don’t make me think about her becoming a teen already!”

There was some snickering, but Jaimie pointed out, “You’ll have to come to terms with at some point.  Kids do grow.”

“Yeah, yeah… but I am going to ignore it until I absolutely have to!”


“If Han can’t even handle Ripley being a teen, what’s he gonna do when the first boys come around?” Jaimie asked Ulrike as the two women and Marcus enjoyed some peace out in the sunroom.

Ulrike grimaced.  “I have no idea… I don’t think it’s going to be pretty.  Ripley’s so good natured, but I have a feeling she’s as stubborn as her father, so it should be… interesting, to say the least.”

Marcus chuckled.  “Got that right.  Though, I don’t blame Han much.  Any boy hurts that little girl and I’ll help my buddy to hide the body.”

Ulrike rolled her eyes.  “Don’t you dare give him ideas!”

Now, now everyone.  The poor thing has a while to go before she’s a teen, so let’s worry about that when we get there.  For now, let her enjoy being a kid as much as she can.  She’ll have enough to worry about with the Dynasty huh?

“Hear hear, Watcher!”

Ripley would have enough to deal with was right…