Minding poem-writing: thoughts and possibilities


In April I will write one poem each day for a month. I’m creating this thread to brainstorm possible ways of committing to this goal. Ideally, I would have some autodata integration helping me out with this, and the conditions of autodata generation would be strict enough that weaseling out of it by fudging data would be as much work as just writing the damn poem. There are a few ways I can think of to mind writing a poem each day:

  • Use existing URLminder or Draft integration to mind word count or changes (not preferred, as poems range in length from 20 words to 1000+ words)
  • Manually enter data each time I write (not preferred, defeats the point of autodata)
  • Count the number of new documents in google drive via some kind of fancy script or IFTTT

The best possible method, however, to ensure that I actually write a poem and can’t fudge data by creating a new document with no text in it, would be to only count a new document IF it has at least 5 lines of text AND at least two lines of text with more than 5 words on them.

I vaguely remember hearing about a webapp which purported to be “like IFTTT, but moreso” by offering logic-as-a-service, conditionals, and minimal scripting capability, but can’t for the life of me remember what it is.

Any thoughts on possibilities for autodata integrations, script-hosting services for using webhooks, etc. would be highly appreciated :slight_smile:


Some definitions I just thought of that maybe should be here:

from beeminder’s perspective a poem should be any document which includes a poem (tautological, I know, but poems have a lot of different shapes and take up varying numbers of lines with lots of different numbers of words on them)

a poem a day means I produce a beeminder!poem each day and has the auxiliary requirement that it be a finished first draft (not a good poem, just a finished one)

Things that I have tried before:

  • Draft integration (not my favorite; though useful for editing tasks when progress is measured just as much by how many words were deleted, shifted, inserted, etc.; has the disadvantage of not actually tracking the unit that i want to measure)

  • manual entry (again, not my favorite, subject to weaseling and forgetfulness)


You’re most likely thinking of Zapier! There are actually quite a few that have appeared over the years claiming to be IFTTT but moreso. Microsoft has one called Flow, for example. I’m failing to think of others off the top of my head. (PS: Googling is turning up stringify, zoho, yonomi – none of which I know anything about.)

For automating poem-writing, what about blogging each poem (possibly anonymously). Then it’s easy to set up IFTTT or other things to automatically count blog posts. And you can point a couple people to the blog for accountability.


I found the service I was thinking of; it’s apilio! A way of patching together information from multiple IFTTT channels. Jury is still out on whether or not it would support the finicky kind of definition I wrote above.

to be honest I think just blogging them on the most anonymous platform I can find would be good but that runs into problems of first serial rights being forfeit; I write with a mind towards eventual (possible) publication and want to be super duper careful that I don’t publish new work anywhere that would void the rights that a print or online journal would want to preserve.


If you really want to nerd out, you could publish cryptographic hashes of each poem. (For those who don’t know, that’s a way to prove the date of authorship without revealing any of what you authored.)


Not sure what platform you are on, but if it is unix/linux/macos you could probably automatically run a script every day that checks if there is a new file since yesterday, that contains text satisfying some conditions (numbers of line breaks, characters etc.) and send that.
I myself would probably do it manually: specify the rules, and then add +1 every time I followed them. I know this is not weasleproof, but since I only find beeminder useful if I don’t fake it somehow works. This is how I measure my journaling (>1 page a session).


@paulienk this is a really clever solution, using cron jobs or scheduled tasks to do something on the os.

What I think I’m going to end up doing, after looking through the options on IFTTT, is to use Google Drive integration. This is great, because I save everything I write to Drive anyways and there are a lot of cool ways to trigger off of new files, starred files, new files in a particular folder matching a specific search (!), etc.

I’m doing this with a writing partner so I’m going to trigger off of new files shared to a specific email address in a dedicated folder, with the caveat that I only share the poem when I’m done. So it’s something I’d already be doing but now the data gets picked up automagically.

Goal link here: https://www.beeminder.com/austinely/poems

And I will post periodically throughout april / private message any interested party proof of progress or pick of poem


Good luck!