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I'm looking for an exhaustive writing tracker, either software or a spreadsheet. ideally, the basic things it would need to track are word count per session, projects worked on, submission status, etc. The more things related to writing to track the better.

If there's a way to create or it includes graphs that would be amazing. Basically, the more it looks like productivity porn, the better.

I'd really like this to be some kind of software or website, so I don't have to have multiple "2014 Writing Year", "2015 Writing Year", etc. files in a folder on my computer. But I haven't been able to google up anything that fits what I'm looking for. I do have one giant spreadsheet that I've been using, but I made the mistake of renaming it so I can't just say "Hey, I'm looking for something a little more involved than So-and-so's Spreadsheet of Doom" or whatever.

The thought behind the ask: I write better when I have something that will visually show me "hey if you don't write something you're going to break your streak, loser", and I write more if I'm trying to beat someone, including myself. The shinier something is with the more bells and whistles, the more likely I am to consistently use it. Basically, I'm trying to instill good writing habits in myself by tricking myself into having good writing habits, using methods that have worked in the past for other things.

Can anyone help?

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    Couldn't just make a spreadsheet with different pages for different years and graphs linked to words written, etc.? – S. Mitchell Nov 18 '15 at 17:24
  • I mean, I totally could? But I find that other people tend to be better at spreadsheets than I am and come up with way cooler macros and things than I can? Like, what even is a pivot table?? I don't know but it seems useful. So things like that, etc. Basically, I don't want to have to learn more Excel than I already know. – Erin McLaughlin Nov 18 '15 at 18:04
  • @ErinMcLaughlin Tracking progress in Excel is easy. I haven't a clue what a pivot table is, and I've been using Excel to track my writing for five years, with nothing more than a few basic formulas. I show you how in my answer below. – Thomas Myron Nov 18 '15 at 18:21
  • I think searching for writing tools & "nanowrimo" or "professional" may help you find wordcount/productivity meters for the first, and submission-trackers for the second. – April Feb 22 at 20:48
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Excel, absolutely.

You might not want to consider this, but give it a shot. Here are the things it could do for you:

  1. Word Count. It has this one in the bag. Simply write for a session and count the words. If you're using MS Word, just highlight the words. It will tell you the word count down on the bottom of the screen. I know there are also websites/programs that can do this for you. Then just put that number into Excel. The next time you write, put the second number next to the first. Then run a formula to calculate the average. You can keep from having to update the formula by inserting columns/rows before the formula to add new data. When you do this, Excel automatically changes the formula to include the new column or row.
  2. Projects. Simply make a new sheet in the same file. This way, you have one big file with all of your past, present, and future projects in it. In addition, you can see the specs of each project individually. Be sure to back this big file up somewhere.
  3. Submission Status. It's up to you how you want to track this. I use Excel to track my writing progress in a similar fashion. I have an in depth development process, followed by the writing process. For each step, I have a cell containing how much I think the step is worth (for example, a particular step may be worth 1, and another may be worth 5 because it takes longer). As I go through the process, I have another column that I fill in with numbers corresponding to the step value, as I complete them. At the top of the sheet, I have a cell with a formula dividing the sums of the two columns by each other and writing the result as a percent, so telling me how far I am through the project.
  4. Graphs. They're a little hard to work with in Excel (Word is easier to arrange them), but MS Office 2007 and up has a lot of excellent charts and graphs you can use to track practically anything. Want a line graph depicting how often, how much, and when you write? No problem. Want to later change that line graph to a different format (of a line graph) without losing the data? No problem.

Something else you could consider is MS Access. It's not as easy to work as Excel or Word, and you need to know what you are doing, but it is ultimately far more powerful than either.

Hope that helps!

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While Excel is good at tracking data, and I use Scrivener for all of my writing, you may want to look at Pacemaker. It's a free web service, and a great way to set goals and enter progress.

It will automatically adjust based on your progress, and creates charts that you can vary several different ways (more on weekends? front-load?).

I highly recommend it.

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You can try my old buddy Scrivener. I don't use even a quarter of the bells and whistles I know are there, so hunt around the documentation and see if it's useful. I know it at least has a Goal function so you can set a word count goal to meet, and keeps track in the footer.

Inexpensive program, you own it rather than rent it (I'm looking at you, Adobe), and the trial is fully powered for the trial period rather than being crippled.

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I use a variation of Fritz Freiheit's Master Writing Log. It is a LibreOffice spreadsheet (works under excel too) and doesn't have graphs but they're easy to put in.

See http://fritzfreiheit.com/wiki/Master_writing_log

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