More robust option for writing target tracking/recording?

I would love to have the option to set the writing target, so that it’s not just per session, but also per day, or any time period you set (such as per week). Right now, the target progress resets whenever you exit Scrivener, and restarts when you start it again. This is a problem because often, you want to keep track of how much you wrote in a day, but you maybe no get one long session write, so you might exist Scrivener and go do something else, then come back later and write some more, and so on. In order to know how much you actually wrote in that day, you’d have to jot down your progress every time before you exit Scrivener, and that’s a PITA.

Also, it would be awesome if Scrivener’s writing target tracking also doubles as a record keeper, where you can see how long you spent writing per session, per day, per week, per year…etc, via a simple tally/report system much like how time/task management apps do it (For example, timeEdition or HourGuard). And this system could even record which projects you were working in each session, so you can tally up the amount of time you spent on different writing projects.

There are more options for this coming. The problem with switching it to daily is that there are roughly an equal number of people that would prefer it to work the way it does now. So this particular matter really needs an option; there will be several to choose from.

Application usage tracking: Aren’t there programs designed to do this for you already? I believe freelancers typically use them to track how much time they spend in billable applications, and I think they are capable of tracking file usage as well. This task seems better suited toward software that is geared toward this form of record keeping, and tracking everything might be useful for you otherwise. You could see if you are wasting more time than you thought in a web browser, for example.

The problem is, those time/task management apps aren’t designed for writers who need to keep track of word count. That’s why we need a built-in trackers inside of Scrivener, so the tracking works in conjunction with word count. Otherwise, we’d have to try to compile our own data by combining our time/task management app with Scrivener’s word count, and when you try to compile many entries (a week, a month, a year), it becomes way too much work. It’s far better to have it all in one place, under one system, so the separate parameters can be tallied together.

A spreadsheet works pretty well for tracking that kind of stuff. There are likely a lot of really sophisticated and nice spreadsheets available for just this sort of thing; there was a nice one I used several years ago. Usually you just plug in the total value in the Project Targets window at the end of every day, and it can use the progression of data to sort out differences between the last writing session and show progress on a graph, all that good stuff. Just one number at the end of the day, nothing major.

Keith has never expressed any interest in turning Scrivener into a extensive tracking software. There are other things like this as well that some have expressed interest in, in the past. Agent info, submission tracking, automatically e-mail chapters to editors, graphs on performance like you suggest—all manner of ancillary things that writers keep track of, but they all take away from the focus of the program, which is to be a writing tool. Not a database, or a spreadsheet, or an e-mail client, etc. Your computer is already likely loaded with excellent solutions for these problems, and all a writing program could ever do is implement a very narrow range of their features to do one thing or another, and meanwhile bloat up the application with a bog of features that don’t have much to do with actual writing, the focus of the program.

So I wouldn’t expect anything along these lines in the future. Good tools for tracking your performance as you work, sure, and we’ve better ones coming—but spreadsheet style reporting has been declared outside of scope. Sorry about that, I hope the explanation for why makes sense.