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!

Some Planning/Prep Thoughts

So it is week two of Wrimoverse (well since we officially launched it anyway).  For those of you that don’t know what that is, myself and several of my ML friends have embarked on even MORE insanity for NaNoWrimo than we ever have before.  It’s a multi-region event, encompassing multiple countries and timezones as well.  There is a weekly story (in October, will be bi-weekly come November) piece that goes out with all of our regional mails, a Ship Cup (our four ships all compete by having their officers and cadets record points based on earning badges, completing tasks, and attending/participating in the online events that are planned), as well as just lots of general writing insanity.

It’s gotten a lot bigger than I think we were thinking it would.  HQ has even asked if we mind if they send out an announcement about it 0.o  So it’s probably going to get bigger which is pretty awesome for our first time with this!

Aside from what goes into that, been trying to do some planning/prep for my NaNo novel.  I’ve switched to Scrivener in order to write this year.  I’ve always used OneNote and Word in order to keep my notes and write my novels, but I love that Scrivener keeps all that in one place.  The first time I used Scrivener was when it was still in Beta form for Windows and sadly, it just didn’t have what I needed at the time.  But now that the Windows version has a lot of what the Mac version does (and is continually getting new things as well), I can safely say that it will now be my new writing software of choice.  The one drawback I’m finding is that is a bit overwhelming.  The basics aren’t too hard to get down and the flexibility is amazing, but I’m actually finding that it’s a bit TOO flexible XD  I’m trying to find the organization that I like best and that works for me.  I think I’m keying in on it, but we’ll see how that goes as October progresses.  I will say, my favorite features at the moment are: The Snapshot, Corkboard mode, and Outliner mode.

Perhaps, when I’m feeling more adventurous, I’ll post up some of the organizational ideas I’ve decided to go with.  I won’t do tutorials for it because there are so many great ones out there, far better than I can explain, but I do know seeing how others organize their projects has been helpful, so I might do that once I’ve settled on it.  Also, the NaNoWriMo trial version and template are out as well, which can help those doing NaNo ^^

To help me keep track of word counts and progress, aside from Scrivener, I use an Android app called Writeometer.  At the moment, it is only for Android, but I love it.  You can have as many projects as you want, list word count goals, daily goals, etc.  It has timers built in and even allows you to make little notes to yourself when you fill in your word count entries.  I often will make notes about what I plan on doing next, or maybe if there was a name or something I need to look up in case I forget (which I do XD).  Again, Scrivener also has a great way to track progress, but I like using both.  Plus, Writeometer has a couple fun tools as well, and it has “guavas” which are rewards you earn for doing word sprints with the timer.  You can spend those guavas on treats that you can program in.  For instance, my big reward this year will be getting to play Sims 4 (the new EP comes out the 1st XD), but ONLY after I get my daily goals XD.  You can assign a worth to treats (I made Sims cost 5 or 6 guavas I think XD).

I think that’s about all for today.  Going to attempt to keep a regular schedule.  Every week or every other week at least.  Would be happy to answer any questions for anyone as well ^^