Counting my words

This year, I decided to tag along for NaNoWriMo. I’ve had quite a few attempts at writing fiction, but every single one ended with a chapter, sometimes two, rotting on my computer. Plus, I went from forty-five hours of class each week to only thirteen this year, so the not–enough–time excuse won’t work anymore.

NaNoWriMo starts in two days, and I only have a very vague idea of my plot, so, of course, I procrastinate by coding. To ease the guilt, I decided to code something that would be more or less useful for this month: a way to display a word count here, on my blog. I could probably have used the official widget, but I didn’t want the count to be an image, and I had a few special requirements.

here comes WriCount (yes, the name’s lame). I plan to write my novel in markdown, one file per chapter. Each time the ruby script runs, it will count the words in all the files in my working directory, and poke the server-side script, which updates a small file on my site. Every time my blog is loaded, a small javascript function will load and print my word count wherever I want. Simple.

if your setup is close enough and you’re interested in using WriCount (I definitely have to find a better name), head over to GitHub. If you need to adapt your script, you can fork the repository and contribute. And if you see something in the code that makes you want to hit me with a baseball bat, (1) please don’t, and (2) give me a shout, I’ll be eager to learn more!