Miscellaneous · Writing Tips

#WW The Joy of Progress Bars

#WW The Joy of Progress Bars

If you’ve been with me for a while, you might remember when I used to have a progress bar on the right side of my website. I no longer have one, but I’ll talk about that in a minute. Since I no longer have on, my progress bar revolved around my current writing projects. Generally, I had two novels at once, and I included the status (ex. Editing) as well as the estimated release date. I have samples below, but I mainly outlined when my novels were being written, edited, and formatted until the release date. That being said, I loved having progress bars on my website, and I encourage every writer to at least try it for three months. Why?

1. It’s interactive with readers!

A progress bar keeps your readers up-to-date. Not only do they know where you are in your work but they can also talk to you about where you are. Everyone can be a part of the process now, and as a reader myself, I think it’s exciting to see all the steps as they happen. Want to know if I’m editing? Want to know if I’m reviewing edits? Now you know, and you can know where I’m at during every step of the process as the weeks pass. It builds up all that hype, and you can celebrate every milestone with your readers! This is actually the reason I started doing it. When I began receiving regular emails about my current status with my next novel, I wanted to find a way to keep everyone updated by just visiting my website, and it worked wonders for everyone! We could chat whenever we wanted about where we were at and skip the questions so we could go directly to celebrating progress.

Progress from June 3, 2014 - September 28, 2013
Progress from June 3, 2014 – September 28, 2014

2. It reminds writers of how far they’ve come

I definitely recommend progress bars to new writers because it will help you from getting discouraged. At first, it won’t seem like a lot, but when you see your bars over months right next to one another, you can see how much you are accomplishing, and that’s a great feeling! It can help you set goals and encourage yourself. But be warned. Some writers have the opposite feelings about bars. They feel discouraged, like they aren’t moving forward, and it sometimes puts too much pressure on writers, so while it works for many—it’s fun for me—it has also felt worse for others. So, figure out what type of writer you are. If you love writing goals, this might be for you. If you love keeping track of your word count, this might be for you. But if writing goals and word count makes you shrink away from your computer screen, I wouldn’t do it. I would just write.

So why don’t I have one anymore?

Well, I probably will again soon! Honestly, though, I deleted mine when my old publisher closed down because I knew I couldn’t update anyone. Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I will probably keep everyone updated on my writing progress with November Snow and other projects as we move forward. If you want to try one, I make mine via PicMonkey. It’s simple and free—and fun! I love looking back on mine, and I love looking forward to new ones.

What about you? Have you ever tried a progress bar? Would you ever consider trying one?


13 thoughts on “#WW The Joy of Progress Bars

      1. Okay so making the progress bar was a little harder than I initially thought! But the website PicMonkey is awesome thanks again!! (Progress bar still…in progress lmao)

  1. Never used one because I never have a clear release date in mind. Every time I announce a date, something goes wrong and I have to do an apologetic song and dance on my blog. Now I just say the season I’m hoping for. Great point on how it helps new writers. Sometimes I forget what that stage was like, but definitely would have helped early on.

    Do you only do the ‘stages’ progress bar? I see a lot with word counts, so I’m curious if you think ‘stages’ helps with the process going beyond first draft.

    1. Actually, I’m glad you asked that! I do encourage writers to focus more on stages rather than on word count, because – like you were talking about estimating a release date – word count is difficult to estimate, especially for a new writer. I know I even have trouble, because it’s about the story, not how many words I can get on paper. That being said, I generally have an “idea” or goal, so I’ve figured out the progress that way. But I believe having stages are like having steps, and seeing the bar complete on one will encourage a new writer to go to the next part, (like writing the first draft to content editing). Plus, I think it’s fun to show non-writers that it’s more than just writing and sending it off to a publisher. It shows all the steps that must be taken.

      1. Good point. A lot of people do seem to think it’s just ‘that easy’. Their heads spin when you bring up outlining, editing, revising, query letters, etc. Wonder if there was ever a time where getting published was simple. Seriously doubting it though.

      2. True. Though that comes with its own risks. Lost count of how many times I’ve accidentally blocked a paragraph just as I was hitting the delete key. Thank god for the undo.

  2. I don’t know how to do a progress bar – I’ll have to learn one more thing!

    Don’t know if I can take it right now – but I may when I get back to writing after Pride’s Children is launched (asap).

    Good idea, though.

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