5 Best Writing Tracker Apps For Boosting Productivity

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writer at work

Why would you need a tracker app to monitor your writing progress?


You know too well that you can write with great speed when you’re inspired.

Well, athletes who made it to the Olympics know they can run like the wind, yet they or their coach or trainer always uses a stopwatch to check if they are improving their sprint time.

In the same vein, several tracker apps are available to track the progress of various things or activities.

Some of them hide in wearable technologies like the Fitbit, while others are conveniently downloadable on your smartphone.


So, why not a tracking app for us writers?


Writers who constantly compete for readership, whether on a local or global scale, should also take advantage of any available technology that can boost productivity. And believe me, these tracking apps can be helpful in your journey as a wordsmith.

The good news is, there are some tracker apps you can download for free.

Others come at a cost, which is reasonable, and sometimes almost negligible.


What are these tracker apps good for?


Well, depending on what you opted for, but these are the key benefits:

  • Track your productivity in terms of word count output.
  • Help you set your goals and schedule.
  • Prompt you to stay on schedule and in line with your goals.
  • Eliminate, or at least minimize distractions.
  • Encourage you to soldier on in finishing your writing assignment.
  • Chastise, rebuke, or even penalize you for procrastination or straying away from your goal.
  • Give you an overview of your progress and usage of your time.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the top solutions available right now.


The 5 Best Writing Tracker Apps in Boosting Productivity (In Random Order):


1. Write or Die


write or die
A snippet of the Write or Die landing page.


Okay, this is not a threat. This is the actual name of the app. I put this one on top of the list to jolt you a little.

Don’t worry, this is not a Squid Game kind of thing wherein you will be literally “eliminated” when you don’t complete a certain task.

This app brings gamification to writing. To keep you on your heels, it brings consequences when you slack off and rewards you when you reached some milestones in your writing tasks or eventually accomplish your goal.

Fun, huh?

Write or Die is now on its second version, and it comes with a $20 price tag at the App Store. It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as on mobile devices.

Just like many video games, it presents you with different setting options. There are three modes, the Stimulus Mode, the Reward Mode, and the Consequence Mode.

stimulus screenshot
A screenshot of the Stimulus Mode screen.


Each one contains tracking components that monitor your time, word count, percentage of what you accomplished so far, etc.


Here are a few details for each one:

  • Stimulus Mode – Instead of writing on a plain white background, you have the option to have a gray-scaled scenery photo on your screen like a beach or a rainforest. You can also have background music or some soothing sounds of nature to listen to as you work. You even have the option to use your own playlist if that’s what stokes your creativity.
  • Reward Mode – In this mode, the concept of positive reinforcement is applied. You can set and adjust the rewards you can get every time you reach a certain word count. Sadly though, your computer can only dish out images to make you feel good, like photos of cute puppies or kittens, or some of your favorite pictures or gifs from your folder.
  • Consequence Mode – Thankfully, this app can only make your computer dole out punishment in digital forms like terrorizing you by flashing an image of a scary spider and other photos with negative connotations. It has a Kamikaze mode that can systematically “disemvowel” the words you’ve written, and a Startle mode to scare the living daylights out of you (kidding!).


Pricing and OS Supported:
Price: $20

Runs on: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, and Android


2. Rescue Time


rescue time
A snippet of Rescue Time landing page.


This app has an algorithm to assess your time usage. It gives you a complete picture of the time you set aside to write for the day.

It tracks how much time you spent on your word processor, the sites you visit, and the minutes (or hours) you spent on each one, and the many other activities in between, such as checking your social media accounts or doing email correspondences.

Let’s face it, the tool we are using to write our novels, articles, editorials, blog entries, or whatever it is we compose for financial gains, could be the same tool that distracts us from our work.

Unlike the great authors of the past who work on manual typewriters, most of us today are using devices that can multitask and provide entertainment options such as games, movies, short videos, celebrity gossips, and more.

Rescue Time gives you a clear picture of the things that make you lose focus, motivation, and time to accomplish your writing goals. It likewise analyzes your pitfalls and can even be prompted to block out YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites that negatively impact your focus during your writing sessions.


rescue time sample
A snippet of a sample report from Rescue Time.


Rescue Time can be integrated with Google Calendar, Office 365, and Outlook Calendar.


Pricing and OS Supported:
Price: Starts at $6.50/ month but they offer a free two-week trial

Runs on: Windows and Mac OS


3. 750 Words


750 words
A snippet of 750 Words landing page.


This free app is a brainchild of the book author Buster Benson and his wife Kellianne.

He looked up the number and found that 750 is the standard number of words to fill up three pages for a book. So, at this pace, you can finish a 100-page manuscript in just a little over one month. Neat, huh?

One good thing about this app is that when you sign in, you become a part of an online community of writers. It means you can pit yourself against other writers by comparing your stats to them. This would somehow motivate you to improve the quality and speed of your writing.

750 words also use positive reinforcement to prod you to become more productive. They use a point system wherein you get a point for just having an output for the day, two points if you reach the 750-word mark, and a bonus point if you exceed it.

The app also generates colorful charts that show your stats, such as the time you spent writing, the average number of words you churned out per minute, the sum of words you’ve written, and the number of distractions you had.


750 stats
Sample of report chart from 750 Words.


It even analyzes your feelings and mindset that reflects on your composition.


Pricing and OS Supported:
Price: FREE, you just need to sign up

Runs on: Windows and Mac OS


4. Freedom


A snippet of Freedom’s landing page.


This tracker focuses more on eliminating or minimizing distractions during your writing sessions.

In this way, Freedom means blocking sites that are engineered to keep you hooked and craving for more content. You know, the ones that make you say to yourself, one more episode, or one more photo slide, or one more comedy sketch, or one more round of the game.

Do you catch my drift?

Freedom works on any devices that run on Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and Chrome. It can even sync all your devices to block certain websites or apps during your writing sessions.


Sample of Freedom’s Blocklist.


I mean, wouldn’t it be useless that when your laptop’s blocker is running, your phone is still getting notifications from social media sites, and can still access those sites and apps you are trying to avoid altogether (at least for a specified period)?

The app currently has more than a million users and the consensus is that most of them gain an average of 2.5 hours more of productivity per day. That translates to at least 12.5 more hours per week or at least 50 more hours of productivity per month!


Pricing and OS Supported:
Price: Starts at $250/month but they offer free trial

Runs on: Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Chrome


5. Pomofocus


A snippet of Pomofocus’ landing page.


If you are already a practitioner of the Pomodoro Technique, then this tracker app is right up your alley.

It’s a free app that provides you with an online Pomodoro timer on your computer or mobile phone. You can download it on both Windows and Mac OS.

In case you don’t know yet, the Pomodoro Technique breaks down a task that will take you hours to complete in smaller bites.

Traditionally each “Pomodoro” is around 25 minutes, wherein you must work undistracted and then you get a five-minute break before you move on to the next one. I usually mention this technique whenever I write articles on “improving productivity”.

Pomofocus, however, is customizable. Although the traditional time frame seems ideal for most, the app allows you to set your own work-rest period.

If you think you can stay focused on your writing for longer or shorter than 25 minutes, you are free to do so. You can also set how many iterations you want in each work session.

pomodoro timerThe app has a color transition function to show whether you are in work mode or rest mode. It also has an alarm sound to signify the end of each timer period. So, it’s like a kitchen timer that buzzes once the time you set has expired.

Fun fact: the creator of this technique got his inspiration from a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, thus the name “Pomodoro”, which means tomato in Italian.


Pricing and OS Supported:
Price: FREE, you just need to sign up

Runs on: Windows, Mac OS


Honorable Mentions


Pacemaker Press – This tracker app has an algorithm that adjusts your schedule based on your writing pace and overall progress. It assists you in setting up each phase of your project from start to finish. They have a free version with a basic planner and a Pacemaker Premium package that costs $8/month or $72/year and comes with several extra features such as archiving, email reminders, unified calendar, etc.

Word Keeper – This tracker app helps you monitor your progress in various simultaneous projects. It prods you to stick to your deadlines and remain motivated throughout the entire process through a gamut of useful statistics. It provides you with planning tools, timer, session notes, daily task planner, and many other features. It is available in App Store (iOS) and Play Store (Android).


Parting Words


With tons of tracker apps out there (many of them free) that can help boost your writing productivity, I think it would be silly not to give at least one of them a try.

What I presented to you here is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other options and useful apps for writers that are still out there (though these five are my favorites). I hope you find “the one” that works best for you.

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