Updated: Mar 2, 2020
Internet research can be a…risky endeavor. Authors look up the strangest things so my search history is most likely a concern for the National Security Agency, or would be if I didn’t live in the backwoods of Mississippi. I was expecting to find a website I adored but lost the link to when I typed “word count tracker” into Google, and I was surprised when it didn’t pull up at all.
What appeared instead was Pacemaker.press. It was the number one searched website that day and the description immediately said, “You need this.” I had never seen a .press link before, and I was a little leery of clicking it and having some virus I would never be able to get rid of infiltrate my laptop. My Mass Effect game-saves are important after all! But I kept coming back to Pacemaker, even after I found the site that I was looking for. One day, I finally gave into the temptation and opened it.
Holy Canoli, am I ever glad that I did! Pacemaker is everything that I need—want—in a word counter: available online (not that I would access non-work things on my work computer), easily manageable and editable goals, and completely customizable tracking.
The graph is the thing of dreams: you can randomize your daily goal, choose how intense it is, even set padded ‘extra’ days or days that you expect to work harder. For someone who works two jobs at over 70 hours a week, this is an indispensable tool. It’s easy to set manageable goals that fit into my busy schedule.
The challenges feature is another exciting nugget of Pacemaker gold that makes things that much more interesting… and that much more inviting. I love the fact that I can challenge other writers in monthly (or weekly) competitions instead of waiting for NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo.
It offers an even greater sense of community.
Pacemaker has two tiers of membership: the free tier allows you to create two ‘plans’ (aka projects) and the premium membership allows you to create unlimited plans in addition to the ability to create multiple challenges and set a plan to ‘private’. Color-coding your counter, as well as differing ways to view your daily goals, are recent additions to Pacemaker… and there are more to come. It’s easily worth the $8 monthly price tag.
But these things are not the best part of Pacemaker! The aspect I find the most encouraging helpful to my writing is the sense of community that a visit to the website provides. Whenever I login to the website, there are new plans posted on the front page, giving me a glimpse at what the rest of the community is doing and spurring me to push a little harder. The blogs and newsletter show the great things that are coming, as well as highlighting causes and partnerships and things that users of the program find helpful. The creators and creative minds behind the program are incredibly responsive, both to emails and questions, and with sharing things that their users have done. I have had several amazing conversations with Pacemaker on Twitter, and on one memorable occasion, they gave me the encouragement I needed to finish the last page of a chapter I had been stuck on for days.
So if you’re a fan of deadline-based writing challenges and watching that word count graph hurtle toward certain victory, check out Pacemaker.press. You might even find exciting new ways to track other things in your life, too!
About the author: Leigh Davis is a Southern horror, historical fiction author, and the Co-Founder of The Writer's Workout. You can find her on Twitter: @leighdbooks.