I am typically not a great planner when it comes to my writing work. I get the job done in a random fashion that bounces about from the start, to the end, to the middle, and all over the place. As a poor planner, scrivener has a number of features I have found invaluable to assist me in getting on with the task of writing a book. The project target feature is a great little prompt to help you keep on track with your writing targets, and to celebrate your progress along the way.
Accessed via the menu. Project | Show Project Targets
When I am writing, I have no pressing deadlines other than the ones I set myself. I usually pick a date and see how it comes out for the daily word count.
I write scifi, so I always pick a genre specific target for the whole book of 90K. Generally, I write 10k more than I intend, but hack about 10k out during editing.
This is the main Manuscript target box you see when you select the above menu option. It just floats like this over the top of you project, or as in my case, I drop it over the bottom corner of my second monitor.
It’s super easy to set up.
Select the options button at the bottom to show the next dialog. Here you can set your proposed date, writing days etc.
You can play around with the options to suit your preferences, but a few things worth noting.
- I have some chapters which are potentially going to get chopped and / or are just bullet notes, so I tick the count documents in the compile only option to avoid muddying the count. You set the ‘include in compile’ against each folder (chapter). If you are not using this ‘include in compile’ feature then untick this.
- Deadline – I like to play about with the target date and see what the word count per day pops out at. If you know roughly how many words you can achieve a day, you can work out a sensible target date.
- I like to allow negatives. Sometimes when you are editing this can be a little disconcerting, but I still like to think about my overall target. If I chop out 500 words I just have to work extra hard to make my day’s count!
- The writing days picker is good if you know you have definite days of the week you don’t write. I tend to just leave as is, and then write over-target on good days.
- I use the default reset the session count at midnight, but if you are a late night writer, you may prefer the reset on project close or one of the other session target options.
- Tick the show target notifications if you want a happy little bong when you meet your target!
Once you are done in the options, click Ok, and head back to the main dialog.
Now Hit the Edit button. (It will then become Apply)
The manuscript word target can now be edited. After you have set the target words hit Apply. Your target session count will pop out.
Note: you can change words to pages or characters if you prefer. I like the default basic word count. (Click on words next to your manuscript target count)
I tend to jump in and out of the options to change the project deadline based on the total manuscript target until I get a realistic target per day.
I’m sure a target glaring at you from the corner of the screen will not work for everyone, but if you have not tried this feature yet, then you may want to give it a go. Writing a book is a long process and anything that helps you to celebrate the progress and the little wins along the way can only be a good thing.
I would love to hear from anyone already using this, and whether you find it useful or not. And anyone thinking of giving it a trial for the first time, let me know if it helps! 🙂