Pacemaker: How to Chart Your Word Count Goals

Yesterday I was reading the Institute for Writers newsletter and saw a listing for Pacemaker Planner. Curious, I clicked through to see what it is.

Pacemaker Planner allows you to set goals and track your daily progress. It shares your graph within the community which means that you can check your progress against other writers.

Me? When I set a goal, it is mine. I’m not super concerned about how other people are doing, but I like to see my word count add up. It is also nice to have a visual cue that lets you know if you are ahead or behind.

Since I haven’t worked with Pacemaker yet, I’m not sure how to interpret the graphs above. After checking out my NaNoWriMo graphs from my last project, I’d have to guess that this is a chart of daily word count. Why do I assume that? These are my last NaNoWriMo graphs. The top one is overall progress. The second one is daily progress. As you can see, I’m pretty good about writing every day if my daily goal is manageable (read: low).

One thing that Pacemaker offers, that NaNoWriMo does not, is a text change calculator. You drop in your original text, you drop in your revised text, you click “calculate change” and it gives you the number of words added and words removed.

I have to admit that I don’t use the same type of goal setting when I revise. I just figure out what I need to do and away I go. That makes it sound like I’m always moving along at a good clip which is not always the case.

Since I just finished a revision, I can tell you that I pay attention to what chapter I’m on and what page I’m on. Each chapter revised is noted and I definitely note when I’ve reached the halfway point.

I’ll use both of these methods to keep track of my next set of goals. I suspect I’ll prefer NaNoWriMo simply because I’m more familiar with it and know where to find things. But I’m perfectly willing to be pleasantly surprised!


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