Daily Targets and Graphs

I am personally driven by numbers and goals, and the project and session targets really provide motivation to keep on chugging. I like to write in the morning before work, and then again in the evening before bed, so I tend to think of a “DAY” as a session. If I quit Scrivener in between, then I’ve lost my progress for the day. Also, sometimes I just want to write X number of words, regardless which project it is in.

If I could have it anyway I’d want, it would be a word counter that tracked total number of words that day on both a per project basis and a cumulative Scrivener-wide basis, with the options of daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals.

Naturally, there would be a pretty graph for tracking, similar to wii fit or runkeeper or the like. Oooh! Then you could post it to a leaderboard on the internet! Sorry, got carried away, but I do like the extra motivation that charts and graphs and “scores” provide.

Thanks for the wonderful product!

2 suggestions:

  • Hide Scrivener (Cmd-H) in the morning and then reopen in the evening
  • Set up a new user account for writing and then log-in to your “regular” account during the day, switching back to finishing writing at the end of the day.

I actually just looked to see if there was a way I could tally up the words via Applescript, which I’m pretty handy with, but I don’t think I can tell a difference between text that is in the draft and those that fall under research folders. Everything seems to be a text file, possibly named by creation order. I suppose that you have some method to keep track of these in a binary file or database, but I can’t make any sense out of it.

I know this isn’t automatic and all, but could you just keep a spreadsheet (either in your project, or linked to from various projects), where you enter the current total word count, project name and date, and let it do the calculations and graphing for you?

Yeah, I’ve been hiding or minimizing, but it makes me nervous to even keep it up that long. Afraid I’ll accidentally delete or add text while I’m working on something else. It works ok, but it still is “session” based instead of day based. If I leave it open when I go to bed, my session is still in progress.

I think what I am trying to say is that trying to accomplish a goal in a writing session seems less natural than trying to accomplish a goal in a set time period. Basically resetting the counter based on the calendar instead of when you hit “reset”. For instance, Nanowrimo = 50k words a month, 7142 words a week, 1667 words a day. That 1667 a day was what felt was important, and the session just didn’t quite gel with me. Something like this:

|||======= 30% Overall Project Goal
||======== 20% This Month’s Goal
||||====== 40% This Week’s Goal
|||||||=== 70% Today’s Goal

I even like arbitrary goals, but now I am just getting greedy. I just find myself changing my project goals and session goals constantly so that my indicator matches up with what I want to achieve. Granted, I’m not a writer (yet), and have very little experience at all, so I could be missing out on a smarter way to do it.

One note on leaving a project open for more than one day: it’s a good idea to refrain from doing if you can. There are internal safeties and such, not to mention automated backups, that are performed when a project is closed and opened. If you leave it running for weeks at a time, you’ll lose the safety net of these features. The backup system can be adjusted to accommodate leaving the application open, by changing the trigger to manual saves; just remember to use them. The internal safeties are being improved to better handle extended periods of time when the project is open, but at the moment your binder file, which defines how the whole project is put together, will not get periodically backed up unless you close and re-open the file.

Do note I’m being somewhat of a cautionary person in pointing this out. 99% of the time, the internal backups will not be necessary as Scrivener is very stable in this regard. It’s definitely for a “worst case” scenario, having these binder file backups available and relatively recent.

As for just leaving the project open during the day so as to not reset the session counter, that’s perfectly normal and fine. I leave projects open all day, myself.

Good to know, as I am guilty as charged. I’ve gotten so used to the stability of Scrivener (casts baleful eye at Word) that I just keep it open all the time. Since I almost never reboot my Mac, I might go for 2 weeks at a time with a project open. I keep it all in my Dropbox that gets synced to my other Mac, which gets backed up via a local Time Machine and online to BackBlaze, so I thought I was safe. But it sounds like if that binder file doesn’t have the most current info, then I might have a bundle of text files that aren’t in any particular order (worst case scenario, of course.) I’ll change my habits accordingly.

I can and I do. But this is wishing, right? :wink:

To be more specific, the primary binder file is always kept up to date (except in the untimely case of a crash before auto-save could kick in). It’s the backup copy that is reset to match the current binder file when you open and close. So for this to even be a problem, you need to run into a bug so bad that it trashes your current binder file and necessitates a recovery using the backup file. In most cases, this happening due to a Scrivener fault is extremely rare. In fact, I’ve never seen it, it’s theoretical as far as I know. The only times I’ve had to use the .backup file were in cases where something external to Scrivener had caused a major system failure (bad sticks of RAM in one case), or some external cause made the .scrivx binder file unavailable for some reason (overly aggressive synchronisation software; etc).

What is being changed about this: an additional binder backup will be created every time auto-save fires. This improvement should be available in the next version of Scrivener, and when that is in place, I would feel confident saying there is no problem leaving a project open for a long time.

So to be clear this is definitely in the realm of NASA level redundancy here. Leaving a project open for a month reduces some of your redundancies, but doesn’t hurt the primary systems, and in a short while even the redundancies will be beefed up.

I am like that, too, but after a lot of experiments with spreadsheets and scripts etc. I finally found that doing such word numbers book keeping by hand on a dedicated sheet of paper works far better than anything else. By writing down daily word gains by hand, calculating how much I am in advance or behind (mostly behind :blush: ), the motivating effect is clearly amplificated. At least for me. OK, it’s not “cool” - but if one’s rather interested in results, it’s at least worth a try, I’d say.

Here is something I’m messing with now.

I added a new page at the top of my draft with the following:
Project Target = 60000
Daily Target = 200
Word Count = <$wc>
Compile Date = <$shortdate>

Then, when I am done for a session or the day or whatever, I just compile and save. I end up with a bunch more text than I need, but at the top of each page is the date and word count. I’ll probably write an applescript later to read the tops of the files, do the math and graph appropriately or just export a csv to excel. The word count doesn’t match up exactly with the project statistics, but that is probably a compile settings issue. And I am more concerned about relative progress anyway.

If I have to shut down, I just adjust my session target before I close Scrivener, so when I re-open instead of saying 2000 (Whatever the target is) words, it says 400 (or whatever I have left)

Imagine my pleasure after updating to version 2.0.5 that the Daily Targets now work almost exactly how I wanted them! I’m going to imagine you guys did this just for me! (I know 2.0.5 has been out for awhile, but I’m just now getting around to posting back on the forum.)

I just wanted to post my thanks. The amazingness of Scrivener as an app is only surpassed by the amazingness of the Lit & Lat team itself. Responsive forums, supportive attitudes, twitter replies and fanatical scouring of the mac app store make for a great experience beyond the purchase of the Scrivener itself. Thanks for everything!

Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated! I do take on board all comments, so your post and those of several other users along the same lines were certainly a major contributing factor the change. 2.1 - out in a couple of weeks or so - will even allow you to choose which days you work on a given writing project and can calculate targets accordingly.

Thanks again and all the best,
Keith

One thing I’d quite like, if at all possible, would be for Scriv to save a file of daily word counts achieved. Doesn’t need to be anything fancy - comma or tab delimited so that I can stick it into a spreadsheet and track my progress. I’m aiming to write 2,000 words a day at the moment, and sometimes (too infrequently) I even manage it. I did start out a spreadsheet tracking daily words written, but then forgot to update it. How much nicer it would be if Scriv did it for me…

NB: I’m not asking for a graphics module, producing 3D charts that can be uploaded to iCloud. :sunglasses:

Gareth,
I’ve developed the habit of taking a screenshot of my word count window at the end of each day (Cmd-Shft-4 for screen shot cursor, then spacebar to switch to window mode, then click. Takes all of 2 seconds). It’s not what you are asking for, but it is very heartening to subsequently scroll through the screenshots and watch the word count graph grow longer and change colour - there’s a real sense of progress and achievement.

…and it’s also something to do when you should be writing (like now)… :wink:

Just bumping this because it’s a feature I’d really like as well (historical graphs of word count or a simple way to export as a csv).