Friday, March 9, 2012

Word Count Widgets


A while ago, I wanted to add word count widgets to the sidebar of my blog.  I saw them on other people's sites and thought it was a great way to track progress without talking about it all the time. 

I used to be a software developer.  I thought I would make my own widgets.  But it turns out the skills left me sometime over the last year.  

So I found the ones on the sidebar from someone else's blog and followed the link.  Svenja developed them for NaNoWriMo.  I've been using these for a while - and love them.  I think they're pretty and easy to update. 

The reason I write about it today?  The word count goal on the widget for my current WIP used to be 50K.  Now it's 75K.  I doubt anyone noticed, but it's a big deal for me.

This time last year I couldn't imagine writing anything longer than 42K.  The programmer inside of me likes to keep things concise and efficient, so that tiny little word count seemed perfect to me.  I whined when I realized that didn't make a novel, only a novella (unless I'm writing for the eight year old crowd, which I sometimes do). 

I will only write novellas and children's stories. It is what it is, I told myself.

Then I added some chapters to that first adult novel/novella - it needed more conflict.  The word count rose to 66K, a number I had never imagined I could reach.

By this weekend, maybe today (but probably not), I will cross the 40K word mark on my current WIP.  It will be nowhere near done at 50K words, so I quietly upped the word count goal on my cute little widget to 75K.  Only a year ago, that seemed impossible for me.

Do you have any stories of surpassing your own expectations?  Know of any good word count widgets?

21 comments:

  1. Didn't know you used to design software!
    I definitely surpassed expectations during NaNo 2010. Thought there was no way I could write fast enough to win, but I did!

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    1. I did - for more than ten years. Finishing NaNo is huge.

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  2. The one I'm soon to publish has definitely passed all my expectations. I'm still polishing it and when I go back and read certain things, I'm like 'damn girl, that's good. There's no way you wrote that."

    Smiles to you and have a happy weekend!

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    1. That's awesome! That's got to be a great feeling. I can't wait to read it. Have a great weekend!

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  3. That's an awesome achievement, I am graduating to writing novellas and novels(still dicey) from shorts and poetry. I have made some progress but a long way off...
    There are more word widgets, one fro the critique circle and one which needs a facebook login, don't remember off hand.

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    1. I think that's a logical progression - short stories and poems to novellas then novels. Each thing I write gets a little longer.

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  4. Congratulations!! I'm so happy for you that you made that leap in knowing what you have the capability to do!

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  5. The widgets are very cool. My philosophy is that you don't reinvent the wheel. If there's a good one out there, use it!

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    1. I agree, but it's fun to create something like that from scratch...if I could just remember how. Also great way to put off adding to the word count.

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  6. Excellent, Tonja. I went from writing behemoths to lowering my word count. Which was quite a feat for me...to go the other way. The sidebar thingies are cool. Have a great weekend.

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    1. I'm in awe of people who write the big novels.

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  7. I always wondered how you get that widget. Thank you for sharing. I always find that I tend to overwrite. For me it is much harder to cut back.

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    1. I wish I could remember where I saw it first. I'm the opposite - when I edit, my word count always goes up. That's how I wrote software too - basic, fundamental, functional parts first, then add the extras later.

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  8. We live in a world of widgets!!
    I found your blog listed on the A to Z Challenge. I'm trying to start visiting everyone early since there are a ton of blogs! I'm your newest follower. *smile*
    Giggle, Laugh, Cry

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    1. 'World of Widgets' would make a funny title or a web site for widgets.

      I bet there are a lot of entries by now for A-Z. I wrote 6 posts already - I think I need to back off on the caffeine. Thanks for the follow.

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  9. I had to laugh at this post. I can't imagine writing anything under 100K. It's a problem. :))

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    1. Wow. That is a lot of words strung together. :) But it seems like publishers like the big word count, don't they?

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  10. I totally exceeded my own expectations the first time I finished a book I was writing. It was about fairies and it's not something I published, but it made me believe I could actually do it. I know NOTHING about widgets and that's the way I like it! :-)

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  11. Hi Tonja,
    Sorry, I am so not a techie I can't help you. I am exceeding my own expectations with my singing group, Sugartime, since, as one friend put it, "I don't have the greatest voice in the world." We are singing at retirement communities,nursing homes, senior centers, and bringing joy and having a blast.
    karen

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