When I was writing the first novel in my series, I wanted to track how much progress I’d made toward my target word count. As mentioned in a previous post, I was shooting for 80,000 words. Each time I finished a writing session, I’d jot down how many words I’d written, add that to the total number of words I’d written so far, and then divide that number by 80,000. While this worked well, it was a manual and tedious process. Then I found Scrivener, which can calculate that for you.
(Note: I’m using Scrivener for Windows, so things may be in slightly different places or have different keystroke combos if you’re on another OS.)
There are three Project menu items that can give you more information about your WIP: Project Statistics, Text Statistics, and Project Targets.
Project>Project Statistics (or Ctrl-Shift-T) – This gives you the total word and page count of your draft in Scrivener, and provides some options for configuring how those values are calculated.
Project>Text Statistics (or Ctrl-Alt-T) – This gives you the total word and page count of the currently selected Text item in Scrivener.
Project>Project Targets (or Ctrl-T) – This is the big one. This allows you to specify how many words your WIP should be. As you write more, Scrivener updates both a numerical value and a progress bar so you can see exactly how far along you are. It also provides a Session Target, which allows you to say “I want to write 500 words this sitting” and then Scrivener will track how much you’ve done. Warning – don’t press the Reset button until you’ve finished your session! Pressing Reset wipes out any progress you’ve made toward today’s Session Target. So if you start out thinking you’ll write 500 words, and then decide you want to increase it to 750, just change the number, don’t press Reset. The Session Target will be recalculated for you automatically.
All in all, this is a great way to measure your progress, and it sure beats doing the calculations by hand.