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Whether you’re freelancing, blogging, or crafting fiction, writing is often a challenging task. Coping with writer’s block–or even garden-variety procrastination–can slow the progress. Here are several accountability tools for writers to help you stay on track and keep the words flowing.

1. Use Time-Tracking Tools

Commit to writing a certain number of hours each day or week. Logging your hours with an app or other tool makes it easy to track progress over time, and sometimes the act of clocking in can be motivating in its own right.

The Toggl Track: Hours & Time Log app makes tracking your writing time a cinch. On the Timer screen, select the List function and add the project's name. Start the timer and get to work. After using the app for a little while, review the Reports screen to see the accumulated hours. There's also a way to specify whether the project uses billable or non-billable hours.

For another feature to help improve focus, the Pomodoro section on the home screen lets you easily increase productivity by using the Pomodoro method. In general, this approach encourages you to work for 25 minutes, take a five-minute break, and then return to work for another 25-minute session.

After a few sessions, take a longer break to recharge and refresh. For writers who work best under a deadline, these timed sessions can offer a little of that motivating pressure throughout the day.

The Toggl app also runs in the background, making the controls accessible from a phone's lock screen. This further helps improve focus as well, because you don't have to unlock the phone to check your total time.

Download: Toggl Track: Hours & Time Log for iOS | Android (Subscription required, free trial available)

2. Create Word-Count Goals

Aiming to hit a set word count each day is a time-honored tradition among writers. While the ideal goal varies depending on the writer and the project, sometimes aiming to reach a certain number of words can help improve motivation.

The Word Tracker app maintains a daily log of word counts, and it generates graphs to show how close you are to hitting each goal. It's especially helpful for longer projects, because you can set the deadline and work toward a portion of the overall word count each day. Add multiple projects to monitor their current word counts simultaneously.

Simply set up a new project on the Dashboard screen, set the word count and deadline, then enter each day's word count. As you work, check the Statistics screen to review progress in graph form. For the most part, Word Tracker is a simple and effective tool for writing more regularly and holding yourself accountable to those word count goals.

Download: Word Tracker for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

3. Get an Accountability Partner or Group

Even though the writing is a solitary task, sometimes it’s easier to reach your goals with help from a friend or two. To look for a potential accountability partner, find an online or in-person writer’s group at Writer’s Relief.

Sometimes talking about your ongoing projects, even casually, can help keep the momentum going. Plus, people in these groups will likely commiserate with your own writing struggles, and they may have helpful advice, too.

For accountability right on a phone or tablet, the Supporti app pairs you with a fellow app user, and you work together to meet mutual goals. Every day, offer your partner congratulations on meeting their objectives, or give them a little nudge to get at it.

In addition, you get paired with a new user every week. This provides the opportunity to interact with a lot of different people as everybody works toward personal goals.

Start by setting up a profile and sharing some information about your plans. Signing up also means messaging a buddy daily, and you get rated on responsiveness.

Simply select a blue check mark on the Home screen every day you meet the goal, and make sure your accountability partner is doing the same. After a while, it's easy to settle into the habit of chatting with your buddy every day and working to meet your goal.

Download: Supporti: Social Motivation for iOS | Android (Subscription required, free trial available)

4. Create a Writing Schedule

Although some writers wait for inspiration to strike, many others thrive with the structure of a set writing schedule. Creating a schedule in spreadsheet format is a classic option, or you can use the Pacemaker software for writing-specific scheduling.

Whatever you choose, sticking with a schedule will help make your writing time a regular part of the day. Ideally, it will turn into the sort of habit you don't even think about: it just gets done.

5. Set Deadlines and Stick to Them

If your projects don't already have deadlines, then set your own and stick to them. Sometimes simply having a set end time can help focus your efforts. This can be as simple as highlighting a particular day in a calendar, or using one of the many deadline and countdown apps available.

For instance, the straightforward Deadline App displays a countdown to your end date. It also offers the chance to receive notifications along the way as well.

Download: Deadline App for iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

For those who like frequent reminders, the Countdown Widget app can display the deadline on your phone’s home screen. Create multiple deadlines and receive notifications as the date draws closer.

Download: Countdown Widget for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

6. Celebrate Successes Along the Way

Give yourself a reward for consistently meeting those word counts or hourly goals because it takes a lot of discipline to keep going. Whether it's a tasty latte or a fun night out, these little rewards make an effort worthwhile.

Similarly, finishing a big project deserves a celebration as well, so invite a friend out to dinner or book a trip somewhere new. Celebrating your successes, both big and small, is a positive form of motivation as well.

Tell Your Story With Help From Accountability Tools for Writers

By using a variety of apps, software, and more tools, sticking to a schedule and meeting your writing goals is definitely achievable. Play around with these resources to find the ones that work with your needs as a writer, then watch the words add up.