We here at the SSRC are all about helping researchers make their research better by making their lives more manageable. We often do this by training research assistants or trouble shooting data problems or software problems. Sometimes we do it by reporting about resources that our readers might find interesting. Today, I report on three gems that I have discovered that have been crucial for helping me make steady progress towards writing goals.
Don’t Break the Chain is a very simple web-based calendar where you indicate all the days that you have successfully completed a daily task. For many academics, daily writing is a MUST-DO. Don’t Break the Chain allows users to set several goals and mark progress on each one. It’s best for daily tasks that might require a little encouragement. Particularly for individuals who like to keep a trend going.
750 Words is very simple site where users write text. The user’s words are counted with the goal of reaching 750 words per day. This probably isn’t the best tool for polished writing (as in that kind of writing that would require tables and figures and such), but it’s a nice place to just get one’s thoughts down. Words are counted in the lower right hand corner. Text can be copied and pasted into a text editor for more polishing and massage. When a user meets the 750 word requirement, a mark is made by that date. A nice long row of those might be useful for individuals who like to keep track of their progress.
Write or Die offers a web interface, desktop program, or app where users are penalized for not producing enough words with the deletion of previously written words. Users can select their time goal and word goal, as well as the strictness of their consequences (which ranges from gentle to electric shock mode) and forgiveness period. This is probably better for people that just need to spend time getting their ideas down. And those who are easily distracted, who might sit down to right, but who suddenly find themselves
perusing the DePaul SSRC blog or Facebook doing other things.