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You’ve probably seen them on author’s websites, progress bars (or progress meters) that track that writer’s current writing project. It’s a fun way to keep your readers/fans engaged even when you’re busy writing. The progress bar tracks the word or page count of that writer’s “Work in Progress (WIP)”.
When I wanted to add my own WIP Progress Bar onto my WordPress powered author website I searched for plugins that would allow me to do this easily. And although there were several progress bar plugins out there, I wasn’t happy with the output.
One of the plugins forced a link back to their site, others didn’t have a feature to add your book cover (I get why not since it’s a WIP so it might not have a cover ready yet), or they just lacked some of the little things that I wanted. More importantly they were out of date with the latest versions of WordPress (some more than two years out of date) so that doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies of using such an outdated plugin.
I’ve always been fascinated with WordPress plugins. These basically, mini-software type programs inhabiting inside the world of WordPress. Not being able to find a progress bar for writers that I liked, lead me to wonder, what if I made my own progress bar? The caveat being (and it’s a big one), I’m not a programmer. You need to be able to code in PHP to develop one of these things.
I’m handy with HTML and I have tweaked PHP and other code in the past, so I thought maybe I could learn. I tried, but it was like reading stereo instructions.
So doing it myself was way over my head, but alas I was intrigued with the idea of developing my own plugin. It got me to think about the time I worked in the corporate world as a business systems analyst, basically I gathered requirements from end users and wrote up specs for the programmers to do those things the end users wanted.
My job was basically like this one on Office Space:
So I decided to go for it. I fired up Word and Gliffy Diagram and I wrote up the specs for this plugin, hired a PHP programmer, and developed my own WordPress Plugin, the progress bar for writers with all the features that I wanted.
I just submitted it to the WordPress Plugin Directory, but there are like 90 plugins in review, ahead of mine, so not sure how long it will take before you find it and install it directly via the WordPress Plugin Directory, I’m thinking it’s going to take awhile, but you can download the plugin for free from here. I also have detailed insturctions and “how to” videos on how to install and use the plugin.
I’m very happy with how it turned out. You can see it in action below (the progress bar in this post, right below this was created with my WIP-Progress Bar plugin):