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Pacemaker is a fantastic tool to help you set writing goals and break them into manageable daily goals. While I didn’t create Pacemaker, I did use it effectively on one of my own projects after finding out about it, then contacted the developer Sarah to see if she could use a writer (she said yes!). I created the following text and sample plans, among others, to help prospective users understand how Pacemaker might apply to their project.


…not sure where to start? The following sample plans may help inspire your own:

Wei is so excited to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time—but then her job takes her away from her home and her writing computer for two weeks, and she’s hopelessly behind by the time she returns. Instead of trying to do the whole novel in only 14 days, Wei decides to do her own 30-day challenge in April.

Assuming that she’ll be stoked about her project early in the month, Wei uses Pacemaker to craft herself a “Biting the Bullet” plan for April’s 30 days. On Wednesdays, her mom and brother come over to share a meal, so she chooses to write less then—that way, it won’t be a scramble to clean the kitchen and try to come up with a ton of words.

Want a plan like Wei’s? as a starting point.

Selina is a working mother who thinks she has a great idea for a novel. Her career and her two kids keep her super busy, and she doesn’t want to set any unrealistic expectations for herself. She’s managed to churn out a lot of notes for her book over the course of a few months, and she feels ready to start, but from past experience she knows she’ll need something to help keep her on track or her enthusiasm will inevitably wane.

Selina decides to use Pacemaker to create a year-long “Valley” plan for a 60,000-word novel, so she can slow to a crawl in the middle where she knows it’ll be tougher to summon the motivation. The small daily word count means Selina may even be able to go above and beyond on days when she gets in the groove. She chooses to exclude the two-week vacation with her whole family, but ups the word count during her three-day getaway with her girlfriends to a local cabin.

Want a plan like Selina’s? as a starting point.

Aki loves his family and is excited to fly back to Iceland to visit them over Christmas, but his freelance writing jobs won’t wait on the holidays. Plane tickets were much cheaper if he flew in late November and left in early January, so he’ll be in Iceland for the full month of December—the 31st of which just happens to be Aki’s client’s deadline for a 15,000-word project.

Luckily, Aki’s family is kind enough to provide him with a list of what days he’ll be needed for socialization and celebration, so he’s able to use Pacemaker to create a plan to fit everyone’s schedule. Aki chooses “Mountain Hike” because by mid-month, he will have seen all the important friends and family members at least once, and Christmas won’t yet be upon him. Some days, like the date the whole family plans to go pony-riding, Aki excludes entirely; others, like when he and his mother plan to drive up and visit his sister at her work in Reykjavik, he chooses to write less but still make some progress.

Want a plan like Aki’s? as a starting point.