There are writers who keep track of how much they write each day and there are writers who don’t. For some, a daily word count is a measure of success and achievement; a sign that progress — however slow — is being made. Starting in version 3, SmartEdit Writer keeps track of the daily word count for your project.
With version 5 we introduced SmartEdit Writer’s online charts — set monthly word count targets and share your progress in a graphical display on Facebook or Twitter.
A range of Word Count options exist on the Actions & Tools menu.
At a basic level, you can quickly call up a word count for the scene you’re working on, or for every scene in your Document or Fragments. If your project is structured in such a way that all scenes that will be in your novel are sitting somewhere in your Document tree, then choosing “All Scenes in Document” from the Word Count drop down will give you an accurate word count for your novel-in-progress. Notes are excluded, as are scenes in your Fragments or Research trees.
Sitting next to the Word Count button is “Daily Word Count.” This opens a new section to the right of the word processor — the same section where you normally see your notes. Clicking this button on or off will switch the daily word count list on or off.
Word count totals are saved for that day when you close a project — or just before midnight if you’re burning the midnight oil. The first time you open a project in Version 3 of SmartEdit Writer no word count total will be set so the list will be empty. You can force a word count to be taken by clicking the “Refresh word count” button above the list. The example below is taken from the Riders of the Purple Sage project.
Each day you open a project, a word count total is set for your Document and Fragment trees. A daily count is calculated based on the total for today less the total for yesterday. If today’s work consists of deleting 1,000 words and writing 500 more, your count for that day will be 0.
The drop down above the list lets you choose which total you wish to see: Document, Fragments, or Document & Fragments. You may have written a number of scenes last week that you later moved to Fragments. Allowing for fragment totals to be included means that even if you later decide to exclude a scene from your finished novel, work done on those scenes still counts towards daily totals. Project totals are at the very bottom of the list.
This is the first incarnation of what might become a more feature-rich “Project Stats” section at some future point. A lot of information is being stored, allowing for graphs, daily targets, calendars that show when targets are met, etc. How extensive this section becomes depends a lot on user feedback.
If you’re one of those writers who is repulsed by the very thought of storing daily word count information — I’m sure there are many of you out there — you can switch this feature off by unchecking the “Keep a daily word count” option on the Settings dialog.
Monthly Word Count Targets & Online Graphs
In September 2018 we released version 5 of SmartEdit Writer. This release built on the daily word count to include monthly targets and online graphical results which you can easily share on Facebook and Twitter.
To get started with your first results graph, open the Daily Word Count section by clicking the button on the toolbar mentioned above. Click the chart button to the right of the Document drop down and wait while your page loads.
Stats for the current month are loaded from your project and sent to the SmartEdit Writer online app where a unique page just for your project is created and opened.
The Charts page contains two sections, a summary of the work you’ve completed for the month to date along with a graph showing a day by day breakdown — complete with colored bars to highlight which days you achieved your daily target and which days you fell short. To consistently achieve your monthly targets you should aim to reach the daily word count total each day — or do a weekend sprint to catch up!.
The gauge at the top will be either green or red. Green means you’re on track to reach your monthly target, red means you’re in danger of missing that target. Each time you click the charts button inside SmartEdit Writer your online charts are updated with the latest word count figures (subject to Internet connection!).
It may be that you’re working so fast and furiously that you find yourself well ahead of your targets, in which case the “Revised daily target” figure shown above will change to show a lower daily figure. This is based on your monthly target, your word count to date and the number of days remaining in the month.
The second section of the charts page shows the day by day breakdown of your work in a simple bar chart, one bar for each day of the month. The chart assumes a daily target equal to your monthly target divided by the number of days in the month. If you meet the target for a particular day the bar is green, if you fail to meet the target it’s red.
Here’s a link to the Charts page for one of our sample projects “Riders of the Purple Sage” for September 2018. All appears to be going well, though there were some red days during the month.
By making the charts page a public page in the SmartEdit Writer online app, we’ve made it easy for you to share with your fiends and followers. Public accountability adds a new dimension to your daily work.
But it’s only public if you make it public. You need to share the page on Facebook, Twitter or on your website for people to see it. There is no automatic link to this page, so Google will not find it unless you post it somewhere. It’s yours and yours alone. You can delete it at any time from within SmartEdit Writer.
Configuring Your Monthly Charts
The Daily Word Count button on the Project toolbar contains a drop down menu with three options.
The first opens the daily count section on the right, the second opens the online charts page for the current month, and the third allows you to configure existing charts.
Click on the drop down button next to a the chart you wish to edit. From here you can open that chart online, delete the chart or edit the chart. The Edit Chart dialog is where you change the monthly word count target, change the name of the Chart, or change the month and year.
When you open a new chart for the current month it will use the name of your project as the title of the charts page. You may wish to change this if the project or book name is not yet public, and you can do so inside the Edit Chart dialog without needing to change your project name.
The default word count target per month is 20,000 words for most months of the year and a whopping 50,000 words for November, in anticipation of NaNoWriMo. Changing any of these values and reloading the charts page from within SmartEdit Writer will update all the data, figures and graphs online for that month.
Online charts are monthly, which means each month brings a new chart with a new page of graphs.
How do I create a chart for a previous month?
Daily word counts were introduced back in March 2018. Figures will have been stored from this date unless you switched off the daily count in the Settings dialog. To create a chart for a previous month, open the Configure Charts dialog shown above and select Edit Chart from the drop down next to an existing chart. In this dialog change the month and year to the desired month and year, then re-open that chart’s online page. It will be updated with figures for the desired month.
Depending on feedback, we may expand the online charts to allow for a range of different options. If you have something you’d like to see in the online charts, get in touch or bring it up on the forums The first incarnation of SmartEdit Writer’s online charts is deliberately feature light and focused on monthly targets in anticipation of NaNoWroMo.