Writing · Writing Articles

For the Visually Motivated Writer: Progress Trackers

Why is it easier for me to write more consistently during NaNoWriMo than any other time of the year? This is a question I ask myself very frequently.

There are a few answers. Community, for one. Tradition, since I’ve been doing this crazy thing for six years now. Deadline. Challenge. And one of the most important ones–visual gratification.

I mean, who doesn’t love the NaNoWriMo graphs? Who doesn’t like seeing that bar rise and rise until the end of the month when you finally hit the goal? It’s extremely gratifying!

I recently joined 10 Minute Novelists, a Facebook group for writers, who have something called the 365k Club: a challenge to write daily in 2016. (You can write 1k a day, as the club title suggests, or go for something less ambitious like 600 or 200 words.) I decided to take the challenge, but I knew that I would need some motivating help.

That’s when I started looking up progress trackers a la NaNo. So far there are three main contenders that I’ll be trying out for the next few weeks…

1. WriterStats’ Nuwa

Nuwa is one part of a three-part team, according to WriterStat.com. The other two parts involve planning and writing books, but I just got a Scrivener trial so I’ll be leaving those alone. At first glance, Nuwa is a NaNo clone.

writeometer screenshots

There are settings to change color and you can have multiple projects, which in turn have multiple possible settings for duration, word goal, etc.


You update just like you do for NaNoWriMo and you can even edit wordcount by day if that’s your thing. Very simple, very clean. I can see myself using this one quite a bit.

2. 4thewords

4thewords.com came out in beta somewhere around the end of NaNoWriMo 2014. I know because I’ve been using the beta version on and off since then. The site recently got a major update, which has me poking around at its features again.

Unlike WriterStat, 4thewords expects you to type directly into its text editor. In fact, most of its features are dependent on you doing this.


Nowadays the editor sports tags and the ability to integrate files into Projects. The editor has a timer and a word counter right in the browser, and if you hit the daily word goal (444 – surprised?) there’s a cute little confetti animation that rains down on your screen.

Timeline view lets you see details on how you’ve written each day.


Going to the “quest” page unlocks an entirely unique feature of 4thewords: it is set up like a video game.


To reward you for meeting your word goal consecutively, you can get coins, gems, experience, etc. and ‘level up’.

The really cool part, though, is that you can battle with virtual monsters by writing.


You can win experience and rewards from these critters by typing a certain amount of words in a certain amount of time.

Basically, this site is a really adorable, RPG-imitating way to motivate yourself to write your words every day. Definitely worth trying out.

3. Writeometer

Unlike the first two things on this list, Writeometer is an app, not a website. At the moment I think it’s only available for Android. (Sorry, Apple users.)

It is designed very nicely, in my opinion. You can add different projects, change the word goal/duration/etc., and even set reminders for yourself to write.

Writeometer also allows you to set an in-app timer to time yourself while you write. If you write a certain number of words, you receive a “guava,” which, while useless in the app, functions as an interesting leisure currency (i.e., spend 2 guavas to check Facebook). It’s an interesting little rewards system. And, of course, it features a long-term progress tracker.

A very well-designed app with a lot of cool features. Plus, if it’s on your phone, you don’t need to have the Internet pulled up while you’re writing–always a plus.


I’ll be playing around with these three and probably some more in the coming weeks as I prepare for 2016 which, I hope, will be a wonderful year of writing for me. My initial instinct is favoring Writeometer, but we will see.

What are your favorite writing progress apps?


5 thoughts on “For the Visually Motivated Writer: Progress Trackers

  1. Hey Nicole! =) Thanks very much for mentioning WriterStat. And our writing stats and word counter Nuwa. We created it during NaNoWriMo with help and feedback from other NaNo authors.

    Let me know, or contact me if there are any additions or changes you want.

    While this is the NaNo version. We’ll also be coming out with another general version, that has session writing, timed and daily writing projects and more.

    Also we have a writing software out now called Manu, that was used by NaNo writers to write 40 million words during the month of November. =)

    All our software is in beta, which means you and well anyone can request anything they want and need and we’ll put it in.

    Not too many places where you can do that. =)

    And we support a number of charities.

    Cheers, and thank you!

    We are basically Author software written by Authors for Authors.




      1. You are very kind, the NaNo folks asked that we keep it as close as possible. Our goal was to keep it simple clean and effective as a first version. =)

        We hope to put free writing tools into the hands of all individuals for free where we can. =) And get as much feedback as possible.

        Each version we keep basic and effective to start. Then we hope to add. =)

        Thanks again, Much appreciated




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