2016 has been a busy year. My youngest son graduated from high school, my husband retired from the Air Force, family flew in for the big events, and we recently moved from Boston to Sacramento. By recently, I mean we drove into town on Sunday, and I’m writing this blog post from a hotel room.
This is pretty much the only writing I’ve done since May, but now that we’re waiting to close on a house, I finally have time to get back to my book. (Yay!) Which means new word count goals.
Luckily, Scrivener makes setting goals and tracking progress easy. No math required. Whether you want to see your progress toward a word count target for a manuscript, a writing session, or a single document, Scrivener has you covered.
Setting a Manuscript Target
Here’s how to use Project Targets to set—and track progress toward—your manuscript word count goal. This applies only to text written in documents or folders within the Draft/Manuscript folder.
- Go to Project—>Show Project Targets (Mac) or Project—> Project Targets (Windows). The upper section displays a progress bar and word count for your manuscript.
- Click in the number box after the word “of” beneath the upper progress bar to enter a goal for the entire manuscript.
- Press Enter/Return.
Mac users click Apply. The progress bar fills with color (in graduated shades from red to green) as you add words.
You can close the Project Targets window and open it periodically to check your status, or leave it open while you write.
Choosing What Counts Toward Your Manuscript Target
On the Mac, Scrivener’s default is to only count documents marked “Include in Compile” (either in the Compile window or in the Inspector) toward manuscript progress. You can change that behavior by clicking the Options button in the Project Targets window and deselecting “Count documents included in compile only.”
I also recommend you deselect “Target applies to current compile group only.” Turning these off will ensure Scrivener counts all text added/removed from any document within the Draft/Manuscript folder.
The Windows version counts everything written in documents or folders within the Draft/Manuscript folder by default, but if you’d like to limit the manuscript progress count only to items marked “Include in Compile” (either in the Compile window or in the Inspector), check the “Documents included in compile only” box in the Project Targets window.
Setting a Session Target
Setting a target for—and tracking progress toward—a daily or session goal is simple.
- If the Project Targets window isn’t already open, go to Project—>Show Project Targets (Mac) or Project—>Project Targets (PC).
The lower section displays a progress bar and word count for your writing session. This can be a single goal for the day, or you can change it for each writing session (great for sprints).
- Click after the word “of” in the number box beneath the Session Target bar to enter a goal for your current writing session, and press Enter/Return. Mac users click Apply.
The color bar fills to represent your progress toward your goal, changing from red to green as you add words.
Understanding Session Word Counts
The session target only counts text added to documents marked to “Include in Compile,” regardless of your selections under Options. That means if you’ve recently excluded a portion of your manuscript during the Compile process, your session count will be incorrect if you’re working in one of the excluded documents.
To quickly mark them as included, go to File—>Compile and select the desired documents under the Include column in the Contents pane (to select all of them, hold Option key and click any empty checkbox in the Include column), then hold the Option key down to change the Compile button to Save. Click Save.
The session target always counts text written in documents that are within the Draft/Manuscript folder, no matter what.
Resetting the Session Count
If at any time you want to clear the progress toward your session goal (e.g. your timer went off and you’re starting over), click the Reset button on the Project Targets window.
The Project Targets window displays net words, so if you delete more words from your manuscript than you add, your session count will be negative.
Pasting vs. Moving
Pasting words into—or deleting them from—a document will affect your manuscript and session count, however if you move an entire document into or out of the Draft/Manuscript folder, only the manuscript count changes.
In addition to project and session targets, Scrivener also lets you set a target for a specific document. If you want to hit a minimum word count for a magazine article, essay, blog post, scene, or chapter (if you use a single document for each), this is the feature to use.
Once set, your progress displays in the status bar at the bottom of the document. No need to open a separate window.
- To start, view the document for which you want to set a target.
- Click the circular target icon at the far right end of the status bar in the footer.
- Enter the word count goal.
- Click OK.
- The word count/target and a progress bar are now visible in the status bar.
Got questions? Feel free to ask me about this, or any, Scrivener topic. Or tell me how you track your writing progress.
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