I second this suggestion. Having word count goals for individual notes and also for sessions or days would be an excellent addition to Obsidian for writers (of fiction and non-fiction). Thanks @writer101 for the suggetion. I can easily picture how I would use that.
I don’t think I’ve seen it in other apps, but having a word goal for individual notes could be quite the novel addition to the option.
I’d like for there to be an analytics page with this as well. Where you can see history, trends, daily/week/month average/totals, etc. Think Apple Health Steps or Screentime - nothing super crazy feature wise (though tech wise I don’t know how intensive this is).
This is essential for anyone writing shorter pieces or submitting copy for a column etc. Also for planners who are working to a strict outline.
But many ways it can be done, and targets might be for a group of notes.
Analytics is useful. ProWritingAid works happily, and fast, with markdown files if you have it installed. Not free of course but can be cheap in one of their frequent sales. Easy to set up to work on any given folder.
External editors bring many of these features and can be triggered within Obsidian. Not many specialist writing programs work with markdown yet though. But won’t be long, I’m sure.
On a related-but-slightly-different note, it would also be very helpful to check the word count of a selection of text, either through a plugin, the main status bar, or a right-click/tools menu.
In my case, I often write articles that must fit under a strict word count for publication. During my drafting process, my note often has lots of superfluous scraps of text, ideas, alternative phrasing, etc.
At the moment, my workflow to find the word count of the “core” manuscript is to delete all the extraneous text, check the word count, and then cmd+Z undo to put back the non-core text. But this is obviously not a perfect workflow.
For some scraps of more permanent nature - like clippings or superfluous facts that I decide to cut - that would work well. These could be things that have some life beyond the piece I am writing.
But many of my scraps are ephemeral with no long-term value, such alternative phrases (eg I didn’t like a sentence, tried to reword it, and can’t decide between the two). I would find it kind of weird to save those in a fresh .md file. Maybe I just have a particularly messy approach to writing!
I don’t expect much change in the editor before the wysiwyg version arrives. Even then I don’t expect it to be designed as a writers’ editor, though word counts will be needed by many. Specialist features may be added through a plugin, if someone does it.
My suggestion for now is to do this part of your writing in an external editor which does give you the word count in a selection. You can have the same file open in Obsidian and an external editor. I also tend to have it open in ProWritingAid at this stage so that I can monitor a wide range of metrics.
I would also like to see a plugin that provides overall, session, and per document word counts and targets.
Most important for me would be within document (note) word count/target. It looks like the Scrivener screenshot above has this feature.
I don’t want my numerous, daily, and messy reference notes to count towards my daily word count. In those reference notes I’ll have a “Summary” heading which is my own words/takeaways, that I then transclude link within a separate aggregating note. I would mostly be tracking that aggregating note’s word count - including the transcluded text.
Come to think of it, if I have multiple aggregate notes at once, in a folder, it would be good to see the word count of this folder only, rather than including reference notes (that are in a different folder).
The editor Writemonkey has a really good feature where you use two slashes on either side of text to be commented out e.g. // text commented out //. These can be inline, or at the beginning of a sentence. The commented out text isn’t included in the wordcount.
I second this idea! It would be great to have a words/characters count for a whole folder and a target count.
I’m using Scrivener (for scientific writing) right now, but it’s too cluttered in my opinion. For my current paper I’m using folders in Obsidian, and it’s working really good. Characters count for folders is the only thing I miss.
I just published a plugin that adds a similar feature! So far, you can track your daily word count, but I’m planning to add functionality for user-defined sessions in the future. You can download it from the community plugins tab under “Daily Stats”
Personally, I’m a little biased towards “word count” as opposed to “character/line/page count” as we use in Germany. Still, it would be nice to also have a “character count”.
Reason: The variance of word lengths in English is small, a typical “word” being about 5 characters on average, as far as I remember. In German, we have very small words like “er”, “ich”, etc. and very long words like “Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung”, “Aufmerksamkeitsdefizitshyperaktivitätsstörung” and so forth, so a pure word count would be misleading.
This is why Germans typically use a character or (manuscript) page count instead of the word count. A manuscript page would be 30 lines of 60 characters each, making for 1800 characters/page, which are typically counted as 1500 characters (i.e. by “VG Wort”) because not every line is full length.
So a character (and maybe even page) count would be extremely helpful for German writers.
A German writer would probably have something like “I’ll write 5 pages” as a daily goal, as opposed to “I’ll write 1500 words each day” (both being roughly the same amount).